New York health officials were warned in writing that a Brooklyn nursing home where 55 patients have died of coronavirus was overwhelmed — weeks before it began topping the state’s official list of resident COVID-19 deaths, damning emails show.
Cobble Hill Health Center CEO Donny Tuchman sent a desperate email to state Health Department officials on April 9, asking if there was “a way for us to send our suspected covid patients” to the hospital built inside the Javits Convention Center or the US Naval hospital ship Comfort — the under-utilized federal medical facilities on Manhattan’s West Side.
“We don’t have the ability to cohort right now based on staffing and we really want to protect our other patients,” Tuchman wrote in a chain of the emails reviewed by The Post.
He was denied.
“I was told those facilities were only for hospitals” to send their overflow patients, Tuchman said.
At the time Tuchman sent his plea, only 134 of the 1,000 beds at the Javits Center were full and the Comfort — which had just been reconfigured to treat up to 500 COVID-19 patients — had a mere 62 on board.
Adding insult to injury, the Navy hospital ship wound up treating just 179 patients before Gov. Cuomo on Tuesday said it was no longer needed.
So I ask again, but to #PresidentCuomo and the New York State Dept. Of Health and not when but why haven't they. Although Javits was available and had plenty of beds.
Update: We should all ask FEMA, the Department of Defense and the President too, looks like Javits went to waste as well.
The federal government is moving forward with plans to shutter the little-used field hospital inside the Javits Center, as the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York continues to decline. The USNS Comfort, also practically empty, is expected to soon depart as well, President Donald Trump announced earlier this week.
"We are encouraged by the data which suggest the curve is flattening in New York and we are working with the city and state to begin the strategic drawdown of resources," a spokesperson for the Federal Emergency Management Agency told Gothamist on Friday.
The spokesperson said there was no set date for either closure. But according to a FEMA official who spoke with ABC News, the Navy ship will leave New York as soon as April 30th. The Javits Center is slated to close on April 30th, according to the unnamed official.
The two facilities have treated 1,100 patients in total, and never came close to approaching their full capacity. As of Friday, just 32 patients were receiving care aboard the Comfort, which has space for 1,000 people, the FEMA spokesperson said. Of the 2,500 beds inside the Javits Center reserved for COVID-19 patients, only 141 were full.
Hospital workers have previously complained about the strict intake procedures at the two Department of Defense facilities, pointing to a 25-point checklist that excluded many would-be patients from being transferred from overrun hospitals, according to the Post.