Coronavirus News USA

New York coronovirus: Central Park becomes a field hospital for New York, where deaths have topped 1,000

The 68-bed field hospital in the park’s East Meadow along the Upper East Side is designed as a respiratory care unit.

Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian humanitarian aid organization, set up the tents in cooperation with FEMA, state officials and local hospital authorities, the organization said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the tent hospital is expected to be operational by Tuesday.

Though small, the field hospital is an example of how New York is using every possible method to expand its capacity to treat coronavirus patients.

The Army Corps of Engineers transformed Manhattan’s Javits Convention Center into a makeshift 1,000-bed field hospital, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo set a goal of building a 1,000-plus patient temporary hospital in each New York City borough as well as in Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties.
More than 1,000 people have died of coronavirus in New York, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, as of Monday morning, a state official told CNN. And Cuomo has warned that the numbers of coronavirus patients, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to rise until they reach an expected peak in two to three weeks.
A Samaritan's Purse crew works on building an emergency field hospital equipped with a respiratory unit in New York's Central Park across from the Mount Sinai Hospital, Sunday, March 29, 2020.

Cuomo’s call for “all hands on deck” in the state has also turned out more medical staff and a surge in needed medical supplies.

The city has received all of the 2,500 ventilators promised by the federal government. They are distributing the ventilators along with personal protective equipment including 8,918,000 face masks, 179,328 face shields, 1,570,300 surgical gloves and 476,565 N95 masks.

“There is not enough of anything,” an attending physician in the anesthesiology department of a Long Island hospital told CNN. “There are just so many patients who are so sick it seems impossible to keep up with the demand.”

For medical professionals on the front lines, many of whom are reusing single-use equipment, the supplies are the best line of defense against contracting the virus themselves, spreading it to patients and being unable to continue providing care.

Staff moved and a hospital in Central Park

Cuomo has emphasized a two-pronged solution to the coronavirus outbreak: increase the ability to care for those who get sick and cut down on the spread of new cases.

NYC’s Emergency Rooms are serving twice as many patients as usual and their ICUs are three times as large as usual, Dr. Mitchell Katz, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals said Sunday.

In response, 500 contract nurses were added to the NYC Health + Hospitals system this week and another 500 are expected next week, Mayor de Blasio said Sunday.

And Queen’s Elmhurst Hospital, which de Blasio said is among the hardest hit in the city, has received 169 clinicians to help in its fight against the virus. The city will continue to move personnel to help every hospital that needs it during this pandemic, de Blasio said.
At Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center, where CNN gained access Sunday, the ICU was working at capacity, patient beds lined the hallways of the emergency department and the morgue was full.

“I can say that every corner every part of the hallway, every room, every space has been filled up to capacity with our patients,” Dr. Arabia Mollette said.

Enforcing social distancing

In New York City, social distancing has gone from a moral responsibility to a legal requirement, as de Blasio announced Sunday that residents who violate policies will receive a summons and fines ranging from $250 to $500.

US extends social distancing to April 30 in hopes of avoiding 100,000 coronavirus deaths

People will be fined if they are told by officers to disperse, keep moving, or maintain distance, but they continue to violate policies anyway.

“If you ignore that order … we’re going to have to fine you. We’re going to give people every chance to listen and if anyone doesn’t listen, then they deserve a fine at this point,” de Blasio said.

Beginning Monday, the New York Police Department will conduct spot checks on subway cars to ensure social distancing.

Team sports are banned in the city. Tennis courts and soccer fields where people continue to gather will have their nets taken down, and 80 basketball hoops have already been removed.

NYPD commissioner expects nearly 900 positive tests in department

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a news conference Sunday that he anticipates that by Monday morning, there will be close to 900 NYPD members testing positive for coronavirus.

As of Sunday, 730 NYPD officers and 96 civilian employees have tested positive, a law enforcement official said.

Of those 826 total employees infected, 29 are hospitalized, and one is in critical condition, the official said.

New York coronavirus deaths soar past 960 as New Rochelle's 'Patient Zero' goes home

Three members of the department have died of the virus.

The NYPD advises members with underlying conditions who want special accommodations to seek permission to work from home, the official said. The department is advising pregnant staff members to do the same.

On Saturday, the department announced its first death of a detective due to coronavirus

Detective Cedric Dixon, a 23-year veteran, worked in the 32nd Precinct in Harlem, Shea said.

The detective was in his 40s and had underlying health conditions, multiple law enforcement officials said. Shea did not provide details on the officer’s health history.

On Friday, Giacomina Barr-Brown, a civilian worked in the 49th Precinct Roll Call Office, also died from coronavirus.

Barr-Brown was a seven-year veteran of the NYPD.

And on Thursday, Dennis C. Dickson, a custodian who worked at police headquarters, became the first member of the NYPD to lose his life to coronavirus.

The police chief lauded Dickson’s commitment to the department, noting the 14-year veteran “worked 17 days straight” during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“May we never forget the sacrifice of those workers who put themselves in harm’s way to keep you and your family safe,” Shea said.

CNN’s Eric Levenson, Laura Ly, Miguel Marquez, Sonia Moghe, Paul P. Murphy and Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.

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