New York City doesn’t have enough ventilators for next week, Mayor de Blasio says

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, speaks at a news conference as the USNS Comfort hospital ship arrives at Pier 90 in New York, U.S., on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images

New York City is about to get a surge of coronavirus cases in the coming days and still doesn’t have enough ventilators or health-care workers to make it through next week, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

He’s authorized local police and fire departments and the sheriffs’ office to help city health officials obtain ventilators from private doctors offices and companies, he said. The city also needs 45,000 additional medical personnel and 85,000 extra hospital beds, including 20,000 ICU beds, he said. Local hospitals are rationing their protective equipment to stretch it out through next week, he said.

“We have gotten some ventilators in, but right now, we’re struggling to have enough for next week,” he said, adding that the city needs 15,000 additional ventilators to get through April and May. “About a quarter of all the cases in this entire country are right here in New York City. And we’re the tip of the spear, and everyone I talk to in Washington acknowledges it. We’re about to hit a huge surge in these coming days. They all know it.”

De Blasio reiterated his call on the federal government to help secure necessary supplies. He thanked President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, saying he spoke with them this morning and they shipped 200,000 medical masks to the city by the afternoon. The city needs far more than that to get through the crush of coronavirus patients expected over the next few weeks, he said. 

On staffing, de Blasio said the city has secured 3,635 additional medical personnel but it needs at least 3,600 more, 430 volunteer medical workers have been approved by the city, 481 health-care workers have come from the NYC Medical Reserve Corps and online portal Federal Staffing. The city still needs 1,000 nurses, 300 respiratory therapists and 150 doctors.

“We’re in the middle of a war. A war against an invisible enemy,” de Blasio said, calling on the federal government to help.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates. 

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