NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the coronavirus pandemic continues to “march across the state.”
During his daily briefing, the governor said there were at least 92,381 cases statewide and 2,373 deaths.
The governor called New York state a “microcosm” of the rest of the country, saying even rural counties are now reporting cases.
“It’s going to march across the country. It is false comfort to say, ‘Well we are a rural community, we don’t have the density of New York City.’ That is a false comfort,” he said. “You have counties in New York State where you have more cows than people. Don’t think of just New York City. Upstate New York is a rural community. And you see that it’s not just urban areas, it’s suburban areas – that’s Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk – comparable to suburban areas all across this country, and we have rural communities that are comparable to rural communities all across this country.”
Cuomo said the peak, or “battle of the mountaintop,” could be as soon as seven days away. Some models show as many as 30 days, but his team believes it will be on the shorter end of the range.
The models vary based on the effectiveness of social distancing measures.
He said the crisis will likely last through the summer, and could lead to 93,000 deaths across the country – including 16,000 in New York.
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The state continues to increase hospital beds, staff and supplies.
“We talk about beds, we talk about staff, we talk about supplies, but the truth is you need all three of those things to provide any care,” said Cuomo.
At the apex, hospitals will need 70,000 to 110,000 beds. Currently, there are 53,000 statewide, including 36,000 downstate.
Two more field hospitals are slated to open soon: One at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal with 750 beds, and another at an Office of Mental Health facility on Staten Island that will treat coronavirus patients.
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On the issue of staffing, Cuomo said health care workers are traveling from upstate to downstate, along with another 21,000 volunteers from across the country. He said a total of 85,000 volunteers are being deployed to help.
“I thank their patriotism, I thank their dedication and passion to their mission of public health. These are beautiful, generous people,” he said. “New Yorkers will return the favor. This is going to affect every place in this country. We are, in some ways, the first major encounter. We’re learning, we’ll get the experience, and we will return the favor. When your community needs help, New Yorkers will be there. You have my personal word on that.
“It’s also the New York tradition. When there’s been a hurricane or there’s been a flood – or Hurricane Katrina – New Yorkers are the first ones in their cars to go anywhere in this nation that needs help. And I will be the first one in my car to go wherever this nation needs help, as soon as we get past this,” he continued. “I will never forget how people across this country came to the aid of New Yorkers when they needed it, and I deeply appreciate it.”
While the beds and staff are coming together, the governor said “supplies are an ongoing challenge.”
He announced hospitals must complete a nightly survey to keep track of the state’s inventory.
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“As I said, we’re coordinating the health care system in a way it’s never been coordinated before. Rather than having all these regional systems, and public systems, private systems, et cetera, we have a central stockpile,” he said. “We are asking all the hospitals to contribute what they have to that central stockpile, and then we will disperse on a need basis.”
Cuomo urged manufacturers to help produce personal protective equipment, calling it a “business opportunity.”
“If you have the capacity to make these products, we will purchase them and we will pay a premium, and we will pay to convert or transition your manufacturing facility to a facility that can do this,” he said. “But we need it, like, now.”
He said there are 2,200 ventilators left in the stockpile. If the current usage rate continues, that’s about enough for six days.
Last night, 400 were distributed to New York City and 200 were sent to Long Island and Westchester County.
In order to maximize the machines, the state has ended all elective surgeries and is looking into things like splitting ventilators between patients, using anesthesia ventilators and converting what are called BIPAP machines.
“If a person comes in and needs a ventilator, and you don’t have a ventilator, the person dies. That’s the blunt equation here,” said Cuomo.