When New York City suggested two weeks ago that the Javits Convention Center be temporarily converted to a treatment facility, the plan was for the 760,000-square-foot complex to accept only non-coronavirus patients.
But as the pandemic continues to flood New York hospitals with hundreds of new patients every day, New York state has received permission for the center to accept Covid-19 patients as well.
“As we all know, the growing coronavirus cases are threatening the capacity of our hospital system,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Thursday afternoon announcing the change. “The number of Covid-positive patients has increased so dramatically that it would be beneficial to the state if Javits could accept [them].”
The 2,500-bed emergency medical facility at the state-owned Javits Center was created in one week by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with the goal of freeing up space at city hospitals for Covid-19 patients.
But Cuomo asked President Donald Trump for permission to admit coronavirus-positive patients to the facility Thursday morning, and the request was granted later the same day.
“I thank the president for his cooperation in this pressing matter and his expeditious decision-making,” Cuomo said.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the state had confirmed nearly 52,000 cases of Covid-19 in the five boroughs. About 20 percent of those cases have resulted in hospitalization.