Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the first 1,000-bed temporary hospital is now complete at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. This temporary hospital site is part of the Governor’s goal of having a 1,000-plus patient overflow facility in each NYC borough as well as Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Governor Cuomo also announced the state and Army Corp of Engineers has toured and identified four new sites for temporary hospitals for construction by the Army Corps of Engineers – the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, the Aqueduct Racetrack facility in Queens, CUNY Staten Island and the New York Expo Center in the Bronx – adding an additional 4,000 beds to the state’s capacity. The Governor is asking President Trump to approve these sites immediately so construction can begin.
These new temporary hospital sites — together with the site at the Javits Center and the temporary hospitals that are being built at locations at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury, and the Westchester Convention Center — are part of the Governor’s plan to create thousands of new beds to bolster existing hospital capacity, with the goal of being open to patients in early- to mid-April. The state is also preparing college dormitories and hotels across the downstate region, and identifying nursing homes and other facilities to serve as a place for emergency beds.
The Governor also announced that all schools in New York State must remain closed for an additional two weeks until April 15th to ensure consistency and uniformity across the state in instructional time for this extraordinary school year. Schools will be required to continue child care, meal and distance learning programs, and the state will extend the 180-day waiver to April 15th.
The Governor also announced that for a 90 day period, consumers experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer paying life insurance premiums. No late fees will be assessed and no negative data will be reported to credit bureaus during this time, and late payments will be payable over a one-year period. LICONY, or the Life Insurance Council of New York, which represents over 80 percent of the life insurance industry, has agreed to these measures.
For a 60 day period, consumers and small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer paying premiums for property and casualty insurance, including auto, homeowners, renters, workers comp, medical malpractice, livery, and taxi. No late fees will be assessed and no negative data will be reported to credit bureaus during this time, and late payments will be payable over a one-year period.
New Yorkers who are without health insurance should apply now through NY State of Health. If you lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. Because of a loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan or Child Health Plus.
The Governor also announced that since yesterday, an additional 10,000 healthcare workers, including retirees and students, have signed up to volunteer to work as part of the state’s surge healthcare force during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, bringing the total number of volunteers to more than 62,000. Additionally, more than 10,000 mental health professionals, including individuals from other states, have now signed up to provide free online mental health services, with 1,400 volunteers signing up on the last day. New Yorkers can call the state’s hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to schedule a free appointment.
“Our strategy from the beginning has been to flatten the curve and increase hospital capacity,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are doing things we have never done before to find more hospital beds and obtain supplies from all around the globe to ensure our healthcare system is not overwhelmed when the apex hits. We have a plan in place to get all of these new facilities and beds online in the next three to four weeks, which is the same timeline the apex is expected to hit our state, so when it does eventually hit our hospital capacity will be as high as it can possibly be. We are on a rescue mission to save lives, and I am proud to be on this mission with all the brave men and women of the National Guard, healthcare workers and first responders who are truly doing God’s work.”
Finally, the Governor confirmed 7,377 additional cases of novel coronavirus, bringing the statewide total to 44,635 confirmed cases in New York State. Of the 44,635 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, 9 are now in Herkimer County according to the State.