New York State set up COVID facilities at several locations to expand hospital capacity. It also requested the 1000 bed capacity USNS Comfort from the Navy. The ship docked March 30th and was sent back by Gov. Cuomo on April 30th after only treating 182 patients. Other temporary hospitals included The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (350 bed capacity, treated 79 patients), the Jacob Javits Convention Center (1000 bed capacity, 1100 total patients treated), Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook (670 bed capacity, treated zero patients). Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars were invested in this inefficiency. Add to this, the proposed Aqueduct hospital that was never built and 2 field hospitals at SUNY facilities on Long Island that didn’t admit any patients. Meanwhile, Samaritan’s Purse, a religious charity, set up a 68-bed tent in Central Park and treated 315 patients, run off donations. At one point, Mayor de Blasio stated that unused capacity at the field hospitals would be used to quarantine COVID patients discharged from hospitals and to isolate positive cases in the community, but that didn’t happen and by Memorial Day all the field hospitals were closed and/or dismantled. In hindsight, maybe the decision to shed 20,000 hospital beds over the past 20 years wasn’t the smartest move.
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SERVING MIDDLE VILLAGE AND MASPETH SINCE 1938.