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March 28, 2020, 1:12 p.m. EDT

Gov. Cuomo announces four new temporary hospital sites as New York expects to need 87,000 more hospital beds

The state predicts it will need the additional beds when the crisis peaks in roughly 21 days

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By Liz Lucking

AFP via Getty Images
Medical supplies are seen inside the Jacob Javits Center as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces plans to convert the Javits Center into a field hospital as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday that President Trump has approved four additional temporary hospital sites to help New York in its fight against COVID-19.

The four new locations will be in New York City — the epicenter of the crisis. Gov. Cuomo selected them together with the Army Corps of Engineers as suitable hospital locations. They are: The New York Expo Center in the Bronx; the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens; the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and the College of Staten Island, Cuomo first announced during Friday’s news conference.

The four sites will join four already approved emergency hospital locations including a 1,000 bed facility at Manhattan’s Javits Center completed Friday afternoon. All eight are considered overflow facilities, designed to take patients from traditional hospitals when they’re inundated with coronavirus cases. Patients with the coronavirus would not be housed in these facilities.

The timeline for completion of the four new facilities “is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 days,” the governor said on Friday.

Spanning 449,000 square feet between them, the scouted locations, if approved, would provide 4,000 hospital beds.

New York state has 53,000 existing hospital beds and is expected to need 140,000 — an additional 87,000 — to meet all medical needs at the apex of the crisis, currently expected to be in around 21 days, Cuomo said Friday.

Bridging the deficit is a monumental task, according to the governor.

The recently completed Javits Center, along with three other in-progress overflow facilities in Stony Brook, Westchester and Old Westbury, will deliver a combined total 4,000 hospital beds.

So all told, the eight new facilities will provide 8,000 beds.

The eight emergency hospitals will give coverage across the whole of downstate, according to Cuomo.

“I want to have one in every borough,” Cuomo said on Friday. “One for Nassau, one for Suffolk, one for Westchester, so everybody knows downstate, which is where the essence of the density is right now, that everyone equally is being helped and is being protected.”

In New York City alone, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 25,573 Friday morning and 366 people have died as a result, according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The majority of new beds needed in New York will come from existing hospitals increasing their capacity. The state is expecting all hospitals to increase their capacity by 50% and expects some to increase by 100%, providing an additional 32,000 beds.

The U.S. Navy Ship Comfort, docking Monday in New York City, will bring a further 1,000 beds for overflow patients.

The state will look to convert dormitories, hotels and nursing homes to make up the remaining gap.

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