New York could see a peak in hospital space demand due to the coronavirus in three weeks, and is preparing to create a total of eight temporary hospitals to accommodate the surge, Governor Andrew Cuomo told a news conference on Friday.
Cuomo, speaking at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan against a backdrop of empty hospital beds, also said schools would stay closed for another two weeks until April 15.
The governor has been a leading voice on the coronavirus pandemic as the state has accounted for nearly one-third of the national death toll, and half of the estimated amount.
Cuomo said that 44,635 people in New York have tested positive, up about 7,400 from Thursday, and that 519 New Yorkers have died from the virus, up from a total of 385 deaths the day before.
“We are battling a deadly virus,” Cuomo told the news conference. “It’s the worst news but it’s not unexpected news either.”
Cuomo said the state was planning to construct another four temporary improvised hospitals to provide another 4,000 beds, which he called part of a plan B to try to account for a lack of medical services.
Cuomo also said he will be asking the White House to approve the request to build certain extra tools.