NYS gears up to create hospital space, manufacture masks and medical equipment

NYS gears up to create hospital space, manufacture masks and medical equipment

On Saturday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced four sites that the Army Corps of Engineers has identified for conversion to hospitals, and said that apparel manufacturers in the state are converting their operations to begin making masks and other medical equipment.

Further, Cuomo announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has granted New York’s request for a major disaster declaration.

Under the current declaration, FEMA will pay 75 percent of the funding and New York is responsible for 25 percent. Cuomo is urging the president and his administration to grant a 100-percent federal cost share under this declaration.

Cuomo is also urging the federal government to quickly grant the state’s pending request to support homeowners through additional individual assistance programs and statewide hazard mitigation assistance.

And Cuomo is asking New York’s Congressional delegation to modify federal coronavirus legislation to ensure New York is eligible for $6 million in aid. Due to a current technical issue in the bill, New York State is not eligible to receive aid, said a release from the governor’s office.

 The proposed hospital sites are all downstate where the cases of COVID-19 are heaviest:

— The Jacob K. Javits convention Center in New York City;

— The State University of New York at Stony Brook;

— The State University of New York at Old Westbury; and

— The Westchester Convention Center.

Over the past days, an inspection team led by the Army Corps of Engineers, and including state officials from the Office of General Services, the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the Department of Health and the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, has visited more than a dozen sites to review for temporary hospital use, a release from the governor’s office said.

Upon Cuomo’s determination, the Army Corps is expected to immediately begin work to construct the temporary hospitals. Cuomo is also requesting that FEMA designate four field hospitals with 250 beds each for the state, intended for use in the Javits Center in addition to the temporary hospital to be constructed by the Army Corps.

“Every day we see the number of cases of novel coronavirus continue to rise, and we know that by all projections we’re going to have more hospitalizations than we can deal with in our healthcare system,” Cuomo said in the release. “We have a plan of action to help stop the spread of this virus, including expanding hospital capacity and identifying new hospital beds … This is a public health crisis, but worse than the virus is the fear, but we have a plan and we are doing everything we can to keep the people informed and save lives.”

Cuomo also announced new actions to increase the state’s supply of personal protective equipment. The state has identified two million N95 masks for purchase and will send one million to New York City and 500,000 to Long Island.

Apparel manufacturers in the state are converting their operations to begin manufacturing masks and other medical equipment, and the state is also exploring manufacturing masks. Additionally, the state is gathering ventilators from different health facilities from across the state to be used in the most critical areas and has already purchased 6,000 additional ventilators, the release said.

Cuomo also issued an executive order temporarily closing in-office transactions for the Department of Motor Vehicles. Online transactions, including for license renewals, will still be available. License and permit expirations will be extended.

Additionally, Cuomo announced that State Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker has recommended trials for new drug therapy to help combat COVID-19. The Federal Drug Administration is acquiring 10,000 doses of Hydroxychloroquine and Zithromax for New York State to use on a trial basis.

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