New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday gave an urgent plea for health care workers to help the hard-hit state at the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis. The plea comes as the state hit a grim milestone on Monday with another 235 deaths in the past 24 hours, putting the total number of deaths at 1,218 in the state since the outbreak began.
“If you don’t have a health care crisis within your community, please come help us now,” Cuomo said. “Today it’s New York, tomorrow it will be somewhere else. This is the time for us to help one another.”
Cuomo said that workers from across the state’s health care system had met to discuss how to work together. He said he was encouraging hospitals to no longer think of themselves as individual hospitals, saying “there has to be a total different operating paradigm where all those different hospitals are operating as one system.”
For example, the hard-hit Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, now considered the “epicenter of the epicenter,” is one of New York City’s public hospitals. Cuomo said other hospitals in the area will now be pitching in to help, and he anticipates this type of problem happening in other parts of the state as other public hospitals struggle.
Cuomo again called for more medical equipment for New York area hospitals, saying it is “desperately needed.”
Cuomo spoke after receiving a briefing upon the arrival of the USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, in New York City. The 1,000-bed hospital ship will be used to treat non-coronavirus patients, to ease the burden on hospitals as they deal with the flood of patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Additional facilities in the city and surrounding areas are being converted into temporary hospitals to handle an expected overflow of patients, and the governor has repeatedly stressed a need for more ventilators.