Emergency hospital going up in Central Park as coronavirus death toll continues to rise

An emergency hospital was erected in tents in Central Park Sunday as the New York City’s staggering toll of coronavirus deaths rose to at least 776, pushing the statewide count past 1,000.

“We’re going to be using every place we need to use to help people,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference. “This is the kind of thing you will see now as this crisis develops and deepens.”

The emergency site will open at the park’s East Meadow on Tuesday and house 68 hospital beds for coronavirus patients, according to de Blasio.

Meanwhile, federal officials are building an emergency, 1,000-bed hospital at the Javits Center in Manhattan. The Army Corps of Engineers has also identified sites in Westchester County, home to the state’s first large cluster of coronavirus cases, and on Long Island for emergency hospitals

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose 10.8% during the same time span, from 29,158 to 32,308.

“It’s so painful for everyone that we’re going through this and we have to fight back with everything we’ve got,” de Blasio said. “Every death is painful. I feel a particular sense of loss when it’s one of our public servants.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered a faint glimmer of hope in the crisis, saying the rate at which new cases are doubling slowed to once every six days, down from once every other day earlier this month.

New York State’s confirmed number of coronavirus cases reached 59,513 Sunday - with 7,195 new cases - according to Cuomo’s office.

Hot on the heels of a historic $2 trillion economic rescue package from Congress, de Blasio called on the feds to distribute “billions” of additional dollars in another stimulus bill next month.

“The next stimulus needs to replace the lost revenue that cities and states have lost as a result of coronavirus,” de Blasio said. “There is no other viable path to making up the kind of revenue we’ve lost - billions upon billions of dollars very quickly; more to come, unfortunately - while we’re trying to keep essential services going.”

City Comptroller Scott Stringer recently predicted the coronavirus could cost the city up to $6 billion in tax revenue.

“There’s no question in my mind at this point that a fourth stimulus bill is coming and coming relatively soon,” de Blasio said, noting he has discussed the matter with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the city’s congressional delegation.

The mayor repeated calls for the feds to send more ventilators, saying he asked for 400 more units by Friday and an extra shipment on top of that by next Sunday.

Over the past two weeks, the city has sent 55 ventilators to Queens’ Elmhurst Hospital, one of the hardest hit health care facilities in the city, according to de Blasio. Thirteen people died of coronavirus there in one 24-hour span last week.

The city also sent 169 doctors, registered nurses and other clinicians to the beleaguered hospital, de Blasio said.

“The incredibly valiant team at Elmhurst has gone through so much in the last few weeks. That’s an extraordinarily effective hospital,” de Blasio said, adding that the city has hired 500 extra nurses, with another 500 to come this week.

Cuomo called for greater cooperation between publicly run and private hospitals, saying he’d ask de Blasio and Stringer how they can help tear down an “artificial” wall between them.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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