A Navy hospital ship will head to New York to help handle coronavirus outbreak

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls for the Army Corps of Engineers to assist the state in building thousands of hospital beds for the expected growing number of coronavirus patients in the coming weeks.

Posted: Mar 18, 2020 7:10 AM
Updated: Mar 18, 2020 12:15 PM


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asked the military for logistical help and a Navy hospital ship is prepping to head to New York harbor as America's largest city takes urgent steps to prepare for an impending health care crisis.

There are more than 7,000 confirmed coronavirus cases across the United States, and New York has been the hardest hit state. On Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that there were 2,382 confirmed cases in New York state -- including 1,339 cases in New York City -- and that 20 people had died in the state.

Speaking to NBC's 'Today,' de Blasio said he had spoken with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Tuesday about the need for the military to help the city's medical capacity and logistics.

'There are American military officers right now still building a wall at the southern border when all they should be doing domestically is addressing coronavirus,' de Blasio said. 'We need their medical resources, their logistical know-how. We need them to help ensure that food and medicine moves around this country and our supply chain is not disrupted.

'Right now we're in the midst of a crisis we have not seen for generations ... and yet the American military is being sidelined when they should be given the chance to get in this game and help us all,' he added.

Cuomo said President Donald Trump is sending the USNS Comfort, a 'floating hospital,' to New York harbor to boost health care capacity.

The Comfort could still be a 'few weeks' away from arriving in New York, a US defense official told CNN. President Trump said Wednesday the Comfort and the USNS Mercy would launch in the next week or so. It is expected at this point the medical staff will be trauma care specialists, at least to begin with, so their presence can free up bed space in New York City hospitals.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the USS Mercy and Comfort were being prepared to deploy.

'We have also alerted a variety of field and expeditionary hospitals to be ready to deployed as needed, based on direction from the commander in chief,' he said.

Focus on increasing hospital beds

Cuomo and Trump are also discussing the possibility of the federal government setting up mobile hospitals in New York to help with capacity, the governor said.

Cuomo said he is meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers this afternoon about building new facilities for medical care.

He said the virus should peak in about 45 days and asked for up to 110,000 beds from its current capacity of 53,000 beds. The state has a current capacity of 3,000 ventilators, but Cuomo wants 37,000 intensive care units. He said an ICU bed would require a ventilator.

'That's our main issue,' Cuomo said, adding, 'That's a projection and projections can change.'

Cuomo met yesterday with hospital administrators to identify up 50,000 new beds. The state will waive Department of Health regulations, including the required space in a given room and how many beds are in it.

The state needs more current and reserve staff and the state is reaching out to retired nurses and doctors as well as medical and nursing schools to build up reserve capacity.

New York limits social gatherings

The push for more hospital beds comes as New York City took extraordinary steps to limit social gatherings and cut down on the spread of the virus. Schools have been closed, offices are asking workers to stay home, restaurants and bars are takeout or delivery only and large events are canceled.

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a ban Monday on gatherings of more than 50 people and agreed to close casinos, gyms and movie theaters, Cuomo said.

The subway has remained open to transport those who still need to go to work, such as health care workers or grocery store employees.

City residents should be prepared for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order in the coming days as the city tries to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, de Blasio said. He said a decision on such an order has not been made, but it is a possibility.

Cuomo has rejected the idea of a New York City quarantine, which he said cannot legally happen without state approval.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 173626

Reported Deaths: 2457
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah34641566
Washington23309229
Marion20037299
Clackamas15216204
Lane11478144
Jackson9846127
Umatilla795383
Deschutes698772
Linn410763
Yamhill407074
Malheur342558
Polk341752
Klamath340859
Josephine304262
Douglas302765
Benton272518
Jefferson205932
Coos196631
Columbia153326
Union141124
Lincoln129720
Wasco128628
Hood River112429
Morrow107815
Clatsop8838
Crook86819
Baker85114
Curry5919
Tillamook5763
Lake4137
Grant4044
Harney3046
Wallowa1575
Sherman570
Gilliam551
Wheeler251
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3714587

Reported Deaths: 60922
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles122811823601
Riverside2972154525
San Bernardino2944644544
San Diego2745663662
Orange2687624886
Santa Clara1167722013
Kern1077641317
Sacramento1010581646
Fresno1004311642
Alameda850891475
Ventura802301000
San Joaquin714311334
Contra Costa66839781
Stanislaus603061028
Tulare49383829
Monterey43260352
San Mateo41050560
San Francisco35947517
Santa Barbara33830446
Solano31875239
Merced31196452
Sonoma29632311
Imperial27920718
Kings22755245
Placer21751283
San Luis Obispo20917256
Madera16234239
Santa Cruz15554203
Marin13851226
Yolo13547199
Shasta11677217
Butte11529196
El Dorado9688109
Napa965479
Sutter9268109
Yuba609844
San Benito596963
Lassen566624
Tehama543056
Nevada444775
Tuolumne406664
Mendocino398747
Amador361646
Humboldt358737
Lake339943
Glenn235425
Colusa219216
Calaveras205551
Siskiyou194021
Inyo141738
Del Norte12747
Mono12734
Plumas6906
Modoc4884
Mariposa4197
Trinity3985
Sierra1100
Alpine880
Unassigned610
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