Westchester Preparing Hospital Beds For Expected COVID-19 Surge


RYE, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Westchester County is preparing for an anticipated surge in coronavirus cases as the pandemic continues to grow in the state.

“We are targeting, trying to make sure we have enough hospital beds available,” Westchester County Executive George Latimer.

He says they have to prepare not just for Westchester County residents to get the virus, but for other New Yorkers as well.

“If New York City's need overflows north, then we're gonna be in the center,” he notes.

Latimer is preparing for patients from surrounding counties too.

“When you look north of us, Rockland County, Orange County, Putnam and Dutchess, if their case load exceeds their local hospitals ability to solve it, the natural tendency is to send patients into Westchester County,” the county executive said.

The county center is already being converted into a temporary hospital space.

“We're going to do everything we can not to fall short,” he said.

Latimer is lining up other potential locations where New York State could set up hospital beds.

Arrowwood Conference Center in Rye Brook, the old Dannon Headquarters in Greenberg and the former College of New Rochelle campus are all being considered.

New York State currently has over 100,000 cases of coronavirus and has seen nearly 3,000 fatalities.

Downstate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced President Donald Trump has approved the 2,500-bed military-run temporary hospital at Javits Center to accept COVID-19 patients. It was originally intended to treat non-coronavirus patients.

The Department of Defense said that while they understand this will elevate the risk of transmission to other patients and their medical providers, "This decision was risk-informed and made to ensure that DoD can continue to provide these local communities the type of medical care they most need.  Force health protection is a top priority and our medical professionals will have the required personal protective equipment needed for this mission."