ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Saturday morning that he will be touring four possible field hospital locations later in the day as the state’s number of positive COVID-19 cases climbs past 10,000.
The governor will be touring the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, SUNY Stony Brook campus, SUNY Old Westbury campus and the Westchester County Convention Center as possible locations.
“We’re working on building new beds,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re going to go out and review a number of sites today (Saturday).”
The field hospitals would have a capacity of 250 beds each. Gov. Cuomo is touring the four sites to get a maximum of 1,000 beds. He said he’s looking at Javits as a possible site for a field hospital as well as an Army Corp. of Engineers temporary hospital because the facility is so big. The convention center itself could hold 1,000 beds.
The governor said he and his team want to increase hospital capacities from 50,000 up to a minimum of 75,000. They are also ending elective surgeries in hospitals, working with hospitals to reconfigure space to allow for more bed and working to find more staff to manage those beds.
“We’re reducing the spread and the rate of the spread to match the increase in the number of cases and increasing hospital capacity at the same time,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re trying to reduce the spread to over a period of months, over a period of months our healthcare system can deal with the numbers.”
Gathering medical supplies is at the top of the governor’s priority list.
“We are literally scouring the globe looking for medical supplies,” he said.
The governor’s team has identified 2 million N95 masks. But the governor said his team is also working on gathering ventilators, which is the most important piece of equipment right now, and the most scarce.
One million of those N95 masks are being sent to New York City and 500,000 to Long Island.
“One million masks won’t get us through the crisis, but it’ll make a significant contribution to New York City’s mask issue,” Gov. Cuomo said.
As of Saturday morning, the governor said the state has 10,356 positive cases of COVID-19 — the most in the country. That number is up 3,000 since Gov. Cuomo last update on Friday.
“Our hotspot of Westchester is now slowing and that’s very good news,” Gov. Cuomo said. But the numbers are still increasing.
New York has administered 45,000 COVID-19 tests so far. The governor said the state is taking more tests per capita than China or South Korea. Additionally, New York is taking more tests than any other state in the country
“The more tests you take, the more positives you will find,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We are taking more tests in New York than any place else.”
The number of counties with positive cases is increasing, the governor said. A map shown during the press conference showed Oswego County on that list, but a message from Oswego County Legislature Chairman James Weatherup after the press conference confirmed there are no positive COVID-19 cases in the county.
“The two cases that were attributed to Oswego County in the governor’s news conference are believed to be cases in Hastings-on-the Hudson in Westchester County, not Oswego County,” Mr. Weatherup said.
Roughly 1,600 people out of 10,000 that have tested positive are being hospitalized, the governor said, which is about 15 percent.
The state’s first patient to test positive COVID-19 — a woman in her late thirties who contracted the virus while traveling in Iran — which was first reported on March 1, has recovered.
“She went home, she never went to a hospital, she recovered, she is now negative,” the governor said. “You get sick, you get symptoms, you recover. That is true for the overwhelming number of people.”
But there is still an issue with younger people not complying, the governor said.
To the people that are saying “young people don’t get this disease,” the governor said, “you are wrong. That is not a fact.”
He added that 54 percent of cases in the state are between the ages of 18 and 49 years old.
“You’re not superman, and you’re not superwoman, you can get this virus and you can transfer the virus, and you can wind up hurting someone who you love or hurting someone wholly inadvertently,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Social distancing works.”
The governor voiced his personal opinion on the COVID-19 pandemic toward the end of his press conference, saying that he doesn’t believe the pandemic will be over in a few weeks.
“I know people want to hear ‘it’s only gonna be a matter of weeks and then everything’s gonna be find,’ I don’t believe it’s gonna be a matter of weeks,” he said. “I believe it is going to be a matter of months, but we are going to get through it, and how long and how well it takes us to get through it is up to us.”
Gov. Cuomo urged people to visit coronavirus.health.ny.gov with any questions they may have pertaining to the pandemic.