New York State is scouting additional new sites for temporary hospitals, with a goal of having a 1,000-plus patient overflow facility in each NYC borough as well as Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The new additions will supplement temporary hospital facilities that are being set up at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and locations at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury and Westchester County Center and are aimed at building thousands of new beds to bolster existing hospital capacity, with the goal of being open to patients in early to mid April.
The state is also preparing college dormitories and hotels for emergency beds.
In addition, the United States Navy hospital ship Comfort, with a staff of 1,200 and 1,000 beds, departs for Pier 90 in New York Harbor from Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday, March 28.
Cuomo also announced that an additional 12,000 healthcare workers, including retirees and students, have signed up to volunteer to work as part of the state's surge healthcare force during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the total number of volunteers to more than 52,000.
Additionally, more than 8,600 mental health professionals, including individuals from other states, have now signed up to provide free online mental health services. New Yorkers can call the state's hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment.
"We know at this point that any scenario will overwhelm the capacity of our healthcare system and we are continuing to work aggressively to increase our state's hospital capacity and flatten the curve," Cuomo said. "Our top priority is finding more beds for patients and getting the ventilators we need to ensure our most vulnerable patients are being treated properly, and we are actively scouting new locations for temporary hospital sites.
"This situation is not easy, but easy times don't forge character -- hard times do - and we will get through this together and be better and stronger people for it."
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