The National Guard will pick up ventilators, masks, gowns and other personal protective equipment from hospitals in areas of the state less harshly impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic and distribute them to more overburdened hospitals, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.
Hospitals will be reimbursed for the seized ventilators if the state can not return or replace the life-sustaining pieces of equipment, the Governor said, who is signing an executive order on Friday to allow for the state can take equipment from institutions that do not currently need them in order to redeploy them “across the system.” The governor did not say when members of the National Guard would begin transferring ventilators or PPE’s.
“I understand that even if they are not using them they are reluctant to see them go out the door, the theory is if the government gets them they’ll never get them back,” said Cuomo. “ I can’t be in a position where people are dying and we have several hundred ventilators somewhere else in our state. I apologize for the hardship to those institutions but ultimately there is no hardship.”
The number of novel coronavirus cases in New York state is now 102,863 with 2,925 deaths as a result of complications caused by contracting the virus, according to state data released Friday. Out of the total number of cases, 57,159 have been in New York City, 12,351, in Westchester County, 12,024 in Nassau, 10,154 in Suffolk, 4,289 in Rockland County, 2,397 in Orange County, 809 in Dutchess County, 720 in Erie County, 464 in Monroe County, 267 in Albany.
It is unclear just how many ventilators will be sent from upstate to downstate hospitals. The governor noted that the burn rate of ventilators is about 300 a day.
The governor added that the state has been trying to buy ventilators and source materials from China via the e-commerce company Alibaba Group.