March 31, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The 350-bed temporary hospital that will takeover a portion of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will be used as an overflow facility to specifically help the heavily-burdened Elmhurst Hospital.
The beds will begin serving non-ICU coronavirus patients next week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today at the Flushing Meadows Corona Park venue that houses the US Open each year.
The center will be built out in three weeks.
“Right now this looks like a bunch of tennis courts,” de Blasio said. “Very soon this is going to be 350 hospital beds to protect the lives of New Yorkers.”
Starting next week, the tennis center will begin taking patients from Elmhurst Hospital–as the number of gravely-ill patients continues to stretch the hospital. Elmhurst Hospital has been called ground zero and the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
“This place will be a lifesaving place,” de Blasio said. “This place will not only help folks inflicted with coronavirus, help them to survive and recover and go home — it is specifically going to help patients who come through Elmhurst Hospital and can receive care here.”
The facility will provide relief to the hardworking staff at Elmhurst.
“It’s going to help take the pressure off of Elmhurst,” de Blasio said. “We all know that for a variety of reasons Elmhurst has been the place that has borne the brunt.”
The number of patients coming into the hospital’s emergency department more than doubled in recent weeks, Dr. Eric Wei, vice president of the city’s Health + Hospitals, said.
While the onslaught of COVID-19 patients has begun to decline, the patients now arriving at the public hospital are sicker and sicker, with shortness of breath and respiratory failure due to the coronavirus, Wei said — and the hospital’s ICU beds are filling up.
Wei said Elmhurst Hospital has put 19 patients on ventilators in the past 48 hours and 42 patients on the ventilators in the past four days.
Health + Hospitals has begun transferring patients from Elmhurst to other hospitals across the city in order to level its capacity. Almost 200 patients have been moved across the system in the last week and a half, Wei said.
Elmhurst area residents who are suffering from medical emergencies other than the coronavirus are being directed to other hospitals throughout the city in order to make space at Elmhurst Hospital. For example, cancer patients are being taken to Memorial Sloan Kettering and ortho patients are heading to the Hospital for Special Surgery, Wei said.
“But the indicators I’m looking at are flashing red,” he said.
The number of patients is surging across New York City’s 11 public hospitals.
Queens Hospital is seeing an onslaught of patients. Wei said it is about four or five days behind Elmhurst, in terms of the curve of COVID-19 cases, and healthcare workers have transferred ICU patients there to other hospitals as well.
“The borough of Queens is clearly on the front edge of this pandemic,” but the other hospitals in Brooklyn and Bronx are starting to see surges in coronavirus patients as well, Wei said.
Queens continues to have the highest number of COVID-19 cases — 13,576 as of 9:30 a.m. and more than 300 borough residents have died of the virus, according to city data.
The moving of patients between hospitals to ensure none are over capacity is a state-issued plan.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said every hospital in the state — both private and public — must work together to spread out patients as well as staff and supplies, so that no one hospital is overwhelmed.
“The hospitals that are in a weaker position are the hospitals that are going to suffer when they then carry in that added burden,” Cuomo said at a Albany press conference this morning. “That was Elmhurst Hospital.”
In an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” on March 1, Bloomberg said, “I find it incomprehensible that the president would do something as inane as calling it a hoax, which he did [Friday] night in South Carolina.”
Correspondent Scott Pelley responded, “He said that the Democrats making so much of it is a Democratic hoax, not that the virus was a hoax.”
@Melissa-1- Don’t assume just ask instead of looking ridiculous again. I live in house. 2- Nowhere does it say the infected come from multi-generational apartments. A good chance the majority of infected are living in the illegally sub divided houses which are common in the neighborhoods and very crowded. 3- The first COVID 19 infection in NYC was the first week in March in Manhattan. The city officials waited until March 17th to restrict gatherings and enact social distancing protocols. Which was too late, the cat was out of the bag. People had already exited the flights at JFK visibly infected by this time for days if not weeks. The Fed didn’t start restricting flights to and from the Schengen until March 15 but this order didn’t check American Nationals for the disease or exposure. During the first week of March Trump danced with the American flag and called the virus a hoax at CPAC. Please provide us a link to a propaganda site in your next fact free post.
@Mac…Yes! The city should of started preparing one-two months ago. Instead they were telling us how safe the dirty over-crowded subways are to ride and how its just about hand washing. The doctor who went public from Elmhurst stated that people were testing positive weeks before the city shut down and most were just sent home to their crowded neighborhoods and small multi generational apartments saying many in the area are non English speakers and undocumented. Wake up! There is a whole world out there beyond your crapped apartment! Educate yourself on what is happening with the rest of the world.
Melissa – All other needs of a city state and government should be ignored ? You’re ridiculous.
The city should of been more prepared. From China it spread to Europe and our officials sat around letting criminals free, building dog barks and painting bike lanes for a good number of people that got up and left the city when they learned you can work from home. I am glad there are less bikes and cars on the road so ambulances can move quicker.
I am worried that hypochondriacs are going the ER, calling ambulances and even getting hospital beds. We all are so stressed. Language barriers, illegal immigrants are also a major problem with our healthcare system.
This is what happens when you sell Bats, snakes, Pangolins and exotic animals for other to consume… never forget that!
Three years ago my mother spent two nights sleeping in the ER because they didn’t have a bed so with this pandemic they need all the help they can get!
I bet that there is enough weapons for war but not even enough masks to help nurses, doctors or civilians, what a shame on you politicians!!! Tell us to buy stupid things but we no have mask!!
The forklift to move bodies amid coronavirus in Brooklyn is horrible. Its like NYC is a third world country. Have a little respect for the families with loved ones at hospitals that are seeing all those images on tv and the internet. No visitors for patients are allowed (no matter the reason a patient is at a hospital). It sad when people are releasing images without blurring patients undergoing treatment. Mistakes and wrong doings are bound to happen shame that no family members can be there to speak up for their loved ones.
He said CV would be over by Easter, that the “china virus” was just a liberal hoax.
Now he doesn’t want NYC to have supplies because Cuomo hurt his feelings once or something.
the center will be built in 3 weeks, but the hospital is already severely overcapacity. what has the mayor done the past month?