Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan called for additional hospitals to help treat the anticipated wave of COVID-19 patients while saying the county’s medical facilities were 1-2 weeks away from running out of masks and other supplies unless more were acquired.
“I am very concerned about our hospital capacity,” Ryan said during a COVID-19 update live streamed on Facebook. “We know we don’t have what we need.”
“We don’t have enough of everything,” he said later. “We don’t have enough beds, we don’t have enough ICU beds, we don’t have enough respirators.”
Ryan said he was working with hospitals in the county on the Governor’s order to increase capacity by 50 percent.
However, he also called for the Governor to set up surge hospitals in the area to meet the expected demand.
Four surge hospitals – one in the Westchester County Center, one in Manhattan’s Jacob K. Javits Center, and one each at SUNY Westbury and SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island – could break ground as early as today, according to LoHud.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will retrofit the buildings with the help of state workers, with FEMA employees assiting with the Javits Center.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo began calling for the federal government to activate the corps for more than a week ago.
Ryan said the downstate surge hospitals needed to be replicated here, and his office had scouted locations and encouraged Gov. Cuomo’s team to consider the area.
“I’m going to continue to push – and I ask everyone listening and watching to push and say – we need a surge hospital somewhere in the region,” Ryan said. “We can see the demand building; we know we don’t have the resources we need – let’s set one up here. And we stand ready to do that.”
Gov. Cuomo has said the state will need an additional 50,000 hospital beds and 37,000 ICU beds to weather the pandemic.
Ryan also said medical facilities were 1-2 weeks away from running out of Personal Protective Gear (PPE), such as masks. He asked anyone with medical PPE to call the COVID-19 hotline at (845) 443-8888.
The county was working through state channels to acquire more PPE, as well as reaching out to providers and to local businesses that may be able to fabricate additional PPE.
New York is being affected by a world-wide shortage of PPE due to the coronavirus. The U.S. is being impacted particularly severely because most of the factories producing PPEs for the country are overseas, and many of these factories cannot export medical supplies under states of emergency declared in their host countries.
There were 38 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ulster County as of Monday afternoon, according to Ryan.
There were 20,875 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state as of 3 p.m. Monday, according to the state Department of Health, including 8,572 outside of New York City.