Cuomo to Order N.Y. Hospitals to Increase Capacity by 50%
(Bloomberg) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing an executive order to compel hospitals to increase their capacity by 50% to handle the surging numbers of coronavirus patients.
“Find more beds, use more rooms, you must increase your capacity,” Cuomo said Monday at a news conference. Even a 50% increase would be insufficient to handle the peak of the contagion, he said, so he is also asking hospitals to voluntarily double their capacity.
The state currently has 53,000 hospital beds but will need an estimated 110,000 when the outbreak peaks.
Cuomo is also urging health insurers that employ doctors and nurses to release them so they can help treat patients. “We don’t need them to be in the insurance business right now,” he said.
The state added more than 5,700 confirmed infections, Cuomo said, for a total of 20,875. Of those cases, about 12,300 are in New York City, 3,260 more than there were on Sunday.
New York accounts for more than a third of all deaths nationwide from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, with 157 compared with 114 a day earlier.
Cuomo continued to voice frustration about the prices medical suppliers are charging for items like protective masks, and he called on President Donald Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act to stop any price gouging.
“Yes, it is assertion of government power on private companies. But so what? This is a national emergency,” he said.
Cuomo said he was looking at plans that could allow some people to return to work, after he previously ordered 100% of nonessential workers to stay home.
“I have no second thoughts on actions that I have taken. I would make the same decisions today,” he said. But, he added, “At some point you have to open the valve, because it’s oxygen for the economy.”
Earlier, Bloomberg News reported that Trump was talking privately last week about reopening the nation, despite the rising number of virus infections.
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