Coronavirus: New York City's temporary Central Park field hospital is set to close as Covid-19 cases decline

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Only 18 patients remain in the temporary facility, as of Thursday

World | The Independent

When New York City erected a field hospital in the middle of Manhattan’s iconic Central Park, residents breathed a sigh of relief.

The 14-tent hospital, which starkly contrasted the normal offerings of the park, housed 68 additional beds to a city needing desperate assistance for its healthcare facilities that were already inundated with Covid-19 patients.

Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian relief organisation, built the tent hospital that would act as overflow for patients in Mount Sinai’s hospitals. But with New York apparently past its peak of Covid-19 infections, it was decided for the field hospital to close by the second week of May, the New York Post reported.

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According to the newspaper, only 18 patients remain in the field hospital as of Thursday.

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Two other temporary hospitals placed in New York City are also set to close.

The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, left New York Harbour on Thursday after serving its purpose in assisting the state. The Javits Centre, an Army hospital run by the federal government, could also close as early as Friday after it stopped accepting patients.

The closure of these field hospitals show how New York seems to have successfully flattened the Covid-19 curve and has relieved the pressure on the healthcare system with the declining of hospital and death rates.

But even though the numbers are moving in the right direction, Governor Andrew Cuomo has implored residents to not get comfortable and relax social distancing measures. New York’s stay-at-home order, called NY Pause, currently goes through 15 May.

One key factor into reopening, according to Mr Cuomo, would be hospital capacity.

The novel virus attacks the upper respiratory system, causing patients difficulty in breathing. In order to properly manage the pandemic, Mr Cuomo said areas would only reopen and remain opened if hospital capacity was at 70 per cent or lower.

Closing field hospitals for overflow patients was one step towards New York reaching the point where its hospital capacity is low enough to start reopening plans.

  • Coronavirus: New York City's temporary Central Park field hospital is set to close as Covid-19 cases decline photo

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