$21 Million NYC Field Hospital Closes After Never Seeing a Single Patient

HANNAH BLEAU
23 May 2020

A Brooklyn field hospital closed without seeing any patients, city officials confirmed this week.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced the construction of the multimillion-dollar field hospital at the end of March — the day after the USNS Comfort docked at Manhattan’s Pier 90.

“They are going to set it up rapidly and we’re then going to go to the next site, the next site, the next site to meet our goal,” de Blasio said, detailing the 670-bed plus site at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook. He also announced another overflow facility at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing. That 350-bed facility only saw 79 patients, according to THE CITY. However, the Red Hook facility never saw a single patient, and both locations ended up costing over $40 million combined.

THE CITY reported:

Earlier this month, the makeshift hospital at the tennis center closed after taking in 79 patients, according to City Hall officials. It cost $19.8 million to construct and revert back, the officials said.

The lower-profile Red Hook terminal hospital was slated to open in mid-April but wasn’t ready for service until May 4. By then, citywide hospital utilization had already fallen by half its April 12 highpoint, to about 6,000 patients.

City officials say the $20.8 million site, constructed by Texas-based contractor SLSCO under a no-bid emergency contract, is now being demobilized after seeing no medical activity.

Similarly, the USNS Comfort, which was originally slated to take pressure off New York hospitals by taking non-coronavirus patients, departed after seeing just 182 patients over its month-long stay. Even though ship agreed to designate 500 of its 1,000 beds for coronavirus patients, it never came close to reaching capacity.

The 1,000 bed USNS Mercy, which docked at Los Angeles Harbor March 27, departed May 15 after treating just 77 patients. It came prepared with 800 crew members “12 fully-equipped operating rooms, laboratories, a pharmacy, [and] radiological equipment … becoming the largest hospital in the city,” KTLA reported.

Similar occurrences have been reported in other areas of the country, as many of the doomsday scenarios touted by experts never came to fruition.

As Breitbart News reported:

Other areas of the country are telling similar stories — preparing for a surge that never came.

A 250-bed field hospital set up by the Army in Seattle’s CenturyLink Field Event Center, for example, shut down in April after just three days. It never saw a single patient. Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said they requested the hospital “before our physical distancing strategies were fully implemented and we had considerable concerns that our hospitals would be overloaded with Covid-19 cases.”

The McCormick Place field hospital in Chicago, Illinois, is also gradually reducing its presence, taking down half of its 1,000 hospital beds as medical centers in the region did not reach capacity.

“As part of our hospital surge, we expanded capacity at a breakneck speed, ensuring our hospital infrastructure would be prepared to handle the very worst. We did so only with a single-minded focus: saving lives,”  City Hall spokesperson Avery Cohen said, according to THE CITY.

“Over the past few months, social distancing, face coverings, and other precautionary measures have flattened the curve drastically, and we remain squarely focused on taking that progress even further,” Cohen added.

The news comes as the country slowly begins to reopen, state by state, following the peak of the Chinese coronavirus. It virtually halted the U.S. economy, resulting in 38.6 million of Americans reporting jobless claims in the last nine weeks.

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