New York corona cases surge; Javits Center to house temporary hospitals

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the number of coronavirus cases in New York jumped to more than 20,000 as of Monday; more than 5,700 new cases across the state were diagnosed.

"We cannot handle the high point," Cuomo said about the future cases that are expected in the state, adding that he signed an executive order requiring hospitals to expand their existing capacity by at least 50% and setting at goal for each hospital to double their capacity.

In New York City, the number of confirmed cases surged to 13,119 as of a count released Monday evening; 125 people have died.

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"This is going to get much worse before it gets better. We are in the relative calm before the storm," Cuomo said Monday afternoon when toured a site inside the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Manhattan's West Side where FEMA is building a temporary hospital, which should be complete in about 10 days. Additionally, state officials are working with the federal government to see if they can add another 1,000 beds designated for less intensive care in the same space.

The Army Corps of Engineers is also building a mobile hospital at the Javits Center as well as three other locations in the state.

The governor announced that about 30,000 people have responded to the state's call for retired and non-practicing nurses, doctors, med school students, and other medical pros to help with the COVID-19 response. 

"We still need more citizens to join this reserve staff," Cuomo says. "If you are a recently retired medical professional, a therapist, a psychologist or a qualified medical or nursing school student or staff member, we want your help." 

Qualified medical professionals can learn more and apply to join the reserve staff here.

Cuomo added that the state is implementing trials of the drugs Hydroxychloroquine and Zithromax and Chloroquine beginning on Tuesday.

"This is going to get much worse before it gets better. We are in the relative calm before the storm."

— Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visits the construction of a temporary FEMA hospital at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, March 23, 2020.

The governor also said the FDA approved the state to move forward with an experimental drug on a compassionate care basis.

"But what it does is it takes the plasma from a person who has been infected with the virus. Processes the plasma and injects the antibodies into a person who is sick," Cuomo said. "And there have been tests that show when a person is injected with the antibodies, that then stimulates and promotes their immune system against that disease. It's only a trial. It's a trail for people who are in serious condition." 

The governor said the federal government has deployed 339,760 N-95 masks, 861,700 surgical masks, 353,300 gloves, 145,122 gowns and 197,085 face shields to New York. He said with many of the state's supplies are already located at the Javits Center.

"As I said from day one, the level of anxiety is not connected to facts, there is no chaos the net effect--many people will get the virus, but few will be truly endangered. Realize the timeframe we're expecting, make peace with it and find a way to help each other through this situation because it's hard for everyone," Cuomo said. "And the goal for me: Socially distanced but spiritually connected. How do you achieve socially distanced but spiritually connected? I don't have the answer but I know the question."

With The Associated Press

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