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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: 391099

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60298839
Washington41981395
Marion39886506
Clackamas32773378
Lane30113355
Jackson24880360
Deschutes23557185
Umatilla15126180
Linn14637179
Douglas13375291
Josephine10148244
Yamhill9762143
Klamath9053146
Polk8212100
Benton609738
Malheur592487
Coos5664106
Columbia430455
Jefferson420266
Lincoln362152
Union338755
Crook334056
Wasco316146
Clatsop261835
Baker219833
Tillamook216645
Hood River213737
Morrow197525
Curry191939
Harney119933
Grant108515
Lake105416
Wallowa75713
Sherman1913
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5083462

Reported Deaths: 74473
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152713227166
San Diego4069274335
Riverside3876785358
San Bernardino3745435962
Orange3343985725
Sacramento1683542443
Kern1576621804
Fresno1567952254
Santa Clara1520891925
Alameda1251761504
San Joaquin1075591834
Ventura1040031190
Contra Costa1037721046
Stanislaus915481417
Tulare860871096
San Francisco56909669
San Mateo56320629
Monterey52488626
Solano47671357
Santa Barbara47293549
Merced45053667
Sonoma43168412
Placer42141470
Imperial38477773
Kings35206363
San Luis Obispo31476359
Madera26194311
Shasta26081451
Butte25455314
Santa Cruz22248224
Yolo21558257
Marin18465249
El Dorado18301166
Sutter14571186
Napa13420104
Yuba1076089
Tehama10275130
Humboldt10158119
Nevada10019105
Mendocino857197
Lassen796756
San Benito781578
Tuolumne773090
Lake7043110
Amador577366
Siskiyou474755
Glenn457436
Calaveras441588
Del Norte375542
Colusa325220
Inyo256646
Plumas19367
Mono18784
Mariposa160018
Trinity99717
Modoc7655
Unassigned3220
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
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