NEW YORK – The tennis complex that hosts the US Open will be a field hospital for the treatment of coronavirus patients next week – part of a race to build more beds and relieve the strain on healthcare facilities in New York City, which, according to a top official, includes everyone Indicators are: “Flashing red. “
The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens will house a 350-bed hospital, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on a visit on Tuesday – and unlike other emergency hospitals previously opened in the city, it will be able to treat patients treat suffers from Covid-19.
The number of coronavirus cases in New York City exceeded 40,000 on Tuesday – a quarter of cases across the country – and 932 New Yorkers have died.
“We all know that we are going against time,” said de Blasio.
The city has started to receive more help from the federal government, but is still far from the equipment it needs. The mayor urged oral surgeons, plastic surgeons and veterinarians to hand over their ventilators to the city.
“We need it now. It shouldn’t sit there and do nothing. This is a war effort. Everyone has to make a contribution, ”said de Blasio.
The tennis facility will accommodate patients from Elmhurst Hospital, which has been overwhelmed by critically ill coronavirus patients. But it won’t be able to treat people who are sick enough to be in intensive care.
“The indicators I’m looking at are flashing red,” said Dr. Eric Wei, vice president of NYC Health + Hospitals, which operates Elmhurst and 10 other public hospitals. “I have practiced emergency medicine for a long time and I see things that I could never have imagined.”
Several city hospitals are so crowded that patients are waiting in the emergency room because there are no beds available after their admission, he said.
Elmhurst, which has intubated 42 patients in the past four days, is now discharging patients with other diseases to focus almost exclusively on the coronavirus. Trauma patients are moved as soon as they are stabilized. In addition to Elmhurst, the hospitals in Queens, Kings County, Coney Island and Woodhull in Brooklyn as well as the hospitals in Jacobi and Lincoln in the Bronx are on the rise with Covid-19 patients.
When the crisis is over, officials still hope that the US Open can be played at the tennis center in late August.
“It seems so trivial,” said Daniel Zausner, director of complex operations. “Hopefully in five months we will be able to see players training on the pitches right behind us.”
New York City has also started to close playgrounds to prevent a throng that could spread the disease. De Blasio has resisted requests to close all playgrounds, but said on Tuesday that he had ordered 10 padlocks because they were repeatedly found to be overcrowded.
“They will be closed, they will be closed, there will be signs, there will be enforcement,” said de Blasio.
The Jacob Javits and Raoul Wallenberg playgrounds in Manhattan, Watson Gleason in the Bronx, Middleton, Brighton and two playgrounds in Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, Mauro in Queens and two in Clove Lakes Park on Staten Island are closed until further notice.
Last week the city dismantled 80 basketball hoops in courts where people broke social distance rules.
De Blasio also announced that the city would postpone a tax lien sale that was planned to sell real estate for unpaid property taxes or water bills. It was planned for May, but will be postponed until August at least.
“We understand that people’s lives are currently being turned upside down and they have no money to pay bills,” said de Blasio.