ALBANY — Uncle Andy Needs Your Help!
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered every local health department across the Empire State to contribute unused respirators as well as asked local businesses to produce badly needed supplies, as New York desperately tries to prepare for a wave of critically ill coronavirus patients.
“It’s ventilators, ventilators, ventilators. That is the greatest need,” Cuomo told reporters at the state Capitol.
“We’re notifying any health department in the state: if you have a ventilator and you are not using it at this time or it is non-essential to your use, we want it. If you are a regulated health facility, we are asking you by order of the department of health to make that ventilator available,” he said.
“We will purchase it from you if you could lend it to us, but we need ventilators and anyone who has them now please call the New York State Department of Health.”
New York only has about 3,000 ICU beds empty at any given time and estimates that it has between 5,000-6,000 ventilators, which officials fear the pandemic will quickly overwhelm.
Cuomo also asked New York businesses and factories to examine their equipment and see if they could produce badly needed hospital masks and respirators.
Bold-face name fashion designer Christian Siriano quickly responded that his staff of sewers — who are working from home — would be able to help.
The governor’s office confirmed that it is in touch with Siriano and his representatives and are working out the details for the masks, which will only be available for hospitals.
The string of announcements came as Cuomo further detailed plans to bolster the state’s overall 53,000-bed hospital system by converting dormitories and other space into healthcare facilities.
He told reporters that possible locations could include the CUNY Hunter, CUNY Queens, CUNY – College of Staten Island, CUNY City College, SUNY Farmingdale, SUNY Purchase, SUNY Rockland, SUNY Stony Brook, St. John’s University and Fordham University.
Additionally, Cuomo’s slides listed Manhattan’s Javits Convention Center.
City officials requested earlier this week that the state sign off on converting the mammoth space on the far West Side into an emergency facility.
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