Virus Outbreak New York

Vincent Dellova, a coordinator at the New York City Emergency Management Warehouse, packs up a ventilator, part of a shipment of 400, that arrived Tuesday, March 24, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

ALBANY — With the rate of COVID-19 infections accelerating and more than 25,000 New Yorkers infected, Gov. Cuomo warned the state will soon run out of ventilators for intensive care patients.

New York now ha 3,325 people hospitalized after testing positive for the virus, with a death toll that has hit 210, Cuomo told reporters Tuesday at the Javits convention center in Manhattan.

"The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought," Cuomo said. "And that is a bad combination of facts."

"We're not slowing it, and it is accelerating on its own," he said.

The peak number of infections is expected to hit the state in 14 to 21 days, Cuomo said, urging the Trump administration to respond immediately to New York's urgent need for more ventilators.

While New York has just acquired 7,000 more ventilators, it needs an additional 30,000 of the devices used in the care of intensive care patients, the governor said.

Cuomo said New Yorkers will die if a federal government stockpile of 20,000 ventilators is not made available to New York health care facilities.

He called on President Donald Trump to use his powers under the Defense Production Act to order companies to make the ventilators, though he acknowledged the production of new machines could take weeks.

“If we don’t have the ventilators in 14 days, it does us no good,” Cuomo said. “Not to exercise that power is inexplicable to me.”

Based on the current trajectory, New York will need 140,000 hospital beds to deal with the "wave" of infections., he said. New York hospitals now have 53,000 beds but are facing a Cuomo mandate to increase their capacity by at least 50 percent.

Javits is one of the sites where state and federal officials are installing a makeshift hospital unit. Cuomo said the Javits site will be designed to treat 1,000 people.

In New York City, Cuomo said subway ridership has dropped 75% while use of commuter rail lines has plummeted 85%.

This is a developing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.

   

Joe Mahoney covers the New York Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites. Reach him at jmahoney@cnhi.com.

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