New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo called on retired medical professionals to sign up to be on call to respond to the coronavirus pandemic during a Tuesday press conference.
The governor reiterated the call in a tweet. “NYS is preparing for potential staffing shortages during the #Coronavirus pandemic. We are seeking recently retired health professionals as reserve staff if the need arises,” he wrote.
The New York State Health Department website also published a page to collect potential reserve staff’s information: “In the event that the novel coronavirus crisis worsens, we need the help of qualified retired health professionals and related professionals to supplement our hospital capacity on a temporary basis to treat seriously ill coronavirus patients including those that may need to be intubated,” the site said.
“The NYS Dept. of Health will recertify you for the purpose,” it added.
More than 1,500 people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus in New York as of Tuesday afternoon. That was a significant increase from Monday, when the total number was 950.
Cuomo projected that his state will need 55,000 to 110,000 hospital beds to deal with the pandemic as it moves forward. He explained that the state only has 53,000 hospital beds, meaning the current health care infrastructure may not be enough to handle the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
“This is an extraordinary time in this nation’s history, and it will go down in the history books as one of those moments of true crisis and confusion. So my message to New Yorkers is this: Be a little bit more sensitive, understand the stress, understand the fear, be a little bit more loving, a little bit more compassionate, a little bit more comforting, a little bit more cooperative,” the governor said.
“We are going to get through it and we are going to get through it together,” he added.
In Monday remarks to CNN, the governor also warned that the pandemic threatened to overwhelm the health care system nationwide.
“The coming crisis is overwhelming our health care system. That is going to happen,” Cuomo predicted. “The federal government has to step up,” he said. “We have an impending catastrophe when this wave of growth crashes on the hospital system and we don’t have the capacity.”
More than 190,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed globally, while just over 5,700 have been confirmed in the U.S., according to a tracker by John Hopkins University. Around the world, more than 7,800 people have died due to the novel virus, while 80,840 have recovered from the illness. More than 90 people have died in the U.S., while just 17 have recovered until now.