The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and New York state have been making rapid progress on turning the Westchester County Center into a temporary hospital facility to help cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to County Executive George Latimer.
“They’re starting to frame out the different rooms on the floor where we most recently played Section One basketball,” Latimer said. “There are four tents out on the parking lot. Con Edison has installed new transformers to handle the additional power need which the temporary hospital will need over and above what’s usually provided for the County Center.”
The facility will add 100 additional beds to Westchester’s inventory, which includes approximately 3,000 in the area’s various hospitals. New York state has mandated that hospitals increase their capacity by at least 50%, which should bring the county’s base count up to at least 4,500 beds.
“Providing the County Center for hospital space just as we provided Glen Island and the parking lot at Glen Island for additional testing, represents the county’s direct contribution in coordination with the state of New York to try to help us through the needs of this particular battle,” Latimer said.
A FEMA spokesperson told the Business Journal, “FEMA issued a $350 million Mission Assignment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for construction of additional alternate care facilities in New York. Four sites have been selected. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded contracts for three New York state priorities for alternate care facility conversions at State University (SUNY) Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury, and for the Westchester County Center. In total, the alternative care facilities in New York will expand hospital capacity by approximately 6,000 beds.”
Latimer said the Westchester death toll from the virus has risen to 25. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo earlier reported that testing had detected 9,967 cases of the virus in Westchester. That represents just over 1% of the county’s population of 980,244.
Latimer released statistics showing that a total of 452 Westchester residents had been hospitalized with the virus since the outbreak reached the county. He said there currently are 275 Westchester residents in hospitals with 17 of them hospitalized outside of the county.
Latimer said that new guidance has been issued regarding protection of first responders from the virus. He said it was going out to all top elected officials in villages, towns and cities and also to the leaders of fire and police departments, emergency medical services and volunteer ambulance corps.
It calls for all first responders to screen themselves before and after working a shift including measuring body temperature and assessing for cough, difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal distress and other anomalies.
In addition to whenever possible maintaining a 6-foot distance from co-workers and members of the public, the new guidance calls for first responders to limit their risk exposure by using a single surgical mask when interacting with the public or co-workers especially when they’re in close proximity in a vehicle or other settings.
The first responders also are instructed when arriving on-scene to promptly place a single surgical mask on the patient.
The guidance urges that the number of responders be reduced to the minimum necessary in order to minimize the numbers who might be exposed to the virus. When interacting with a known or suspected COVID-19 case, the responders are reminded to have appropriate protective equipment: N95 respirator, eye shield, goggles, gloves and gowns.
Latimer provided statistics on the distribution of cases in the county as provided to his office by the state. They are are about a week old.
Ardsley 21; Bedford 32; Briarcliff Manor 18; Bronxville 21; Buchanan 4; Cortlandt 99; Croton-on-Hudson 17; Dobbs Ferry 46; Eastchester 76; Elmsford 15; Greenburgh 149; Harrison 58; Hastings-on-Hudson 20; Irvington 16; Larchmont 16; Lewisboro 17; Mamaroneck Town 36;
Mamaroneck Village 32; Mount Kisco 56; Mount Pleasant 80; Mount Vernon 269; New Castle 42; New Rochelle 378; North Castle 28; North Salem 4; Ossining Town 22; Ossining Village 153; Peekskill 73; Pelham 26; Pelham Manor 22; Pleasantville 28; Port Chester 123; Pound Ridge 3;
Rye Brook 36; Rye City 36; Scarsdale 71; Sleepy Hollow 42; Somers 27; Tarrytown 37; Tuckahoe 20; White Plains 170; Yonkers 608; Yorktown 105.