Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that more than 14,000 people have been tested for coronavirus in the state of New York. There are 2,382 total cases of coronavirus in New York state with 1,008 new positive cases.
“The numbers are going up. Hence the increased actions to reduce the spread, the density reduction,” Cuomo said.
There are 549 people currently hospitalized in the city.
Cuomo announced that the President Trump will be dispatching the USNS Comfort hospital ship to New York to assist with the health care capacity. Cuomo said it would be docked in New York City harbor. The President and Cuomo are also discussing the possibility of the federal government putting up mobile hospitals in New York to help with capacity, the governor said.
Cuomo announced a new mandatory order for non-essential businesses that says they can have no more than 50 percent of workforce report for work outside the home. He is doing this by executive order.
Overall, there are at least 7,111 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to the state and local health agencies and governments and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC, there are 70 cases from repatriated citizens. And according to CNN Health’s tally of US cases that are detected and tested in the United States through public health systems, there are 7,041 cases in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and other U.S. territories, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 7,111.
In total, 117 people have died.
Meanwhile, anticipating a spike in coronavirus patients, New York City-area hospitals are clearing out beds, setting up new spaces to triage patients and urging people with mild symptoms to consult health professionals by phone or video chat instead of flooding emergency rooms that could be overrun.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned that demand for hospital beds could soon outstrip capacity by tens of thousands as the outbreak surges to an expected peak in 45 days.
At Mount Sinai Health System’s emergency rooms, the numbers of people turning up with respiratory complaints “have increased dramatically” in recent days, said Dr. Brendan Carr, the chair of emergency medicine. Most have mild to moderate symptoms but are looking for tests and answers, he said, and the increase has been offset somewhat by a drop in other patients and moves to devote additional space and staff to emergency rooms.
Elsewhere, people have shown up demanding to be tested even when they haven’t shown any symptoms. Because testing capacity is still limited, merely showing up to an emergency room doesn’t guarantee a coronavirus test, said Dr. Robert Femia, the head of emergency medicine at NYU Langone Health.
Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded Tuesday with people who suspect they have coronavirus symptoms to stay home and see if they improve in a few days before even calling a doctor.
“Do not go to the emergency room unless it is a true, immediate and urgent emergency,” the Democrat said.
Cuomo is meeting with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials Wednesday after calling on the agency to build temporary hospitals in the state. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in an interview on Fox News that he had given the governor “my full commitment that we would get the Corps of Engineers up there soonest, to assess the problem and see how we can help out.”
For most people, COVID-19 results in only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, but severe illness is more likely in the elderly and people with existing health problems. Worldwide, the disease has killed several thousand people, though tens of thousands who got it have recovered.
Hospital officials expect a surge in cases to start in the next week or two. They’re getting ready by canceling elective surgeries — as the city has ordered — and freeing up space by discharging patients who are well enough to recover at home.
“Right now, the volume in our emergency departments is pretty manageable,” said Northwell Health spokesman Terence Lynam. “This is really the calm before the storm.”
At Brooklyn Hospital Center, people who suspect they have the virus will be directed starting Wednesday to a tent for screening to determine whether they need testing. Northwell, which runs hospitals, walk-in clinics and doctor offices, is looking to set up similar screening near its emergency room in Manhasset, on Long Island.
NYU Langone Health, which has several hospitals in the region, is steering about 1,000 patients a day to video-based consultations known as telemedicine.
Building on a model that debuted in a coronavirus hotspot north of the city, the state is opening more drive-through test sites. Laboratories are boosting test capacity and speed, and some hospitals are adjusting criteria for testing.
At Northwell Health, people are now eligible if they’re hospitalized and sick or symptomatic and believe they were exposed to the virus. Before this week, they had to have had contact with a diagnosed person.
“We have done a lot, a lot, a lot to prepare, and right now, we are managing,” said Mount Sinai’s Carr. “The next couple of weeks will be determined, I think, by how effectively we social distance and how effectively we stop spreading this to each other.”