NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Just days after work began turning the Javits Center into a 1,000-bed field hospital for treating COVID-19 patients, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there still will not be enough hospital capacity to deal with the coronavirus outbreak’s peak – but now comes “Plan B.”

On Friday, Cuomo announced he’s asking the federal government for four additional emergency field hospitals to be built in New York City.

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“We just have been scouting sites for a few days,” Cuomo said Friday. “We have settled on a few sites working with the Army Corps of Engineers.”

Beyond the 1.8 million square feet inside Manhattan’s Javits Center, the governor is looking at these locations:

In addition to the proposed field hospitals, Cuomo said the USNS Comfort hospital ship should be in New York’s harbor by Monday to add 1,000 beds and 1,200 medical personnel available to treat COVID-19 patients.

“All across the downstate area with proximate facilities to every location downstate, frankly is the best plan that we can put together and execute in this timeline,” said Cuomo.

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As of Friday, there where 44,635 people in New York State who have tested positive for the COVID-19 infections. Of those, 6,481 have been hospitalized with 1,583 patients in the ICU.

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Since cases began being tracked in New York, there have been 2,045 patients discharged after being hospitalized due to the infection.

Cuomo said the state is also looking at converting City College and Queens College dormitories, the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge hotel and the Brooklyn Center nursing homes into medical support facilities.

“So as you can see we’re looking far and wide,” he said. “Very creative aggressive and finding all the space that we can possibly find and converting it to be ready in case we have that overflow capacity.”


Health officials and medical workers are racing against the clock as the infection rate continues to double every 4.6 days. As of Friday, a total of 519 people have died from coronavirus-related illness.

“That is going to continue to go up,” said Cuomo. “And that is the worst news that I could possibly tell the people of the state of New York.

“The reason why the number is going up is because some people came into the hospital 20 days, 25 days ago, and had been on a ventilator for that long a period of time,” he said. “The longer you are on a ventilator, the less likely you’re going to, you’re going to come off that ventilator.”

New York is still the most affected state in the nation, both in terms of number of cases and total coronavirus-related deaths.

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“Now we’re looking at about 21 days for a possible apex, so we want to do everything we can to be ready for that increased capacity,” said Cuomo.