NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In the race to slow the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced on Saturday that Manhattan’s Javits Center tops his list of locations to be turned into field hospitals to test and possibly treat cases of COVID-19 infections.
The plan is part of his request for help to the federal government for four field hospital sites and aid from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Cuomo announced the latest step in his COVID-19 plan as New York state broke the 10,000 mark on coronavirus cases, identifying 3,254 new cases in one day of testing. In New York City alone, confirmed cases jumped 1,800 individuals – a 30% increase – to 6,211 total cases.
“This virus spreads in density and that’s what we’re seeing in New York City,” said Cuomo.
By Saturday night, New York State’s total number of confirmed cases had grown to 11,710, including 60 deaths.
The Javits convention center – home to auto shows, trade conventions, comic cons and more – offers 1.8 million square feet of space within Hell’s Kitchen. Cuomo said he hopes four 250-bed units could be put there for a total capacity of 1,000.
Other locations Cuomo put on his list as possible field hospital sites included the campuses at SUNY Stony Brook and SUNY Westbury, and the Westchester Convention Center. The governor said he would be reviewing the sites on Saturday. Each of those would have one 250-bed unit under the management of FEMA.
Every special interest group in NYS asking for "more money"
"To be advocating for more state funding in this situation is beyond the pale of a colorable claim. The state is obviously broke, the revenues are devastating."@NYGovCuomo #Covid19 briefing
— Tony Aiello (@AielloTV) March 21, 2020
He added projections show 40% to 80% of the population will become infected with COVID-19, which could mean up to 7.8 million residents across New York state.
“We don’t know how long it is going to take us to get through this. Fact is, we’re trying to slow the spread of the virus to a number of months so the healthcare system can deal with it, so by definition, it’s going to be a number of months,” Cuomo said.
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In addition to field hospital locations, Cuomo said New York is looking to acquire 2 million N95 masks – giving half that allotment to New York City and a quarter to Long Island – and convert apparel manufacturers to make more. They are also looking to send 6,000 respirators to New York City.
The Governor thanked those pressed into service to keep everyone safe, especially medical professionals who are in desperate need of certain tools to do their jobs.
The news followed Friday’s orders on all non-essential workers to stay home and remain indoors as much as possible, and New Jersey followed suit on Saturday.
Essential workers include those working in groceries, laundromats and even liquor stores. And, as always, police.
New York is at its most social-distanced yet, and the proof is in a very quiet Times Square. Officers are on most corners and they’re instructed to remind people to spread out, not crowd together.
Central Park appeared to be more lively.
Dina and Maria of the Bronx came for a Saturday afternoon run, doing it together but trying to keep six feet of space between them.
At a dog park on the West Side, animals had a party but their owners stayed away from each other.
Subway service, meanwhile, is deemed essential, but the public is reminded to use it only when absolutely necessary.
Regular bus service in the city becomes free to ride on Monday. As part of a plan designed to help protect drivers, everyone will board from the back and sit away from the driver to help them stay safe.
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There is some encouraging news — at least one person in New York has recovered from the coronavirus.
Cuomo spoke about the 39-year-old woman Saturday, saying she is now negative. The health care worker from Manhattan was also the first person to test positive in the state. She returned from Iran last month and has been recovering at home.