As area hospitals struggle with a surge in coronavirus cases, at least one southern Brooklyn politician is calling on the governor to utilize a defunct Bay Ridge medical center to expand hospital bed capacity.
Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who represents Bay Ridge and Staten Island, wrote to Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 26 urging the state to consider it using the shuttered Victory Memorial Hospital at Seventh Avenue and 92nd Street, which she says could accommodate 254 hospital beds.
“Right now, expanding hospital bed capacity is a priority,” Malliotakis said. “This 254-bed site can provide relief to nearby hospitals and I continue to urge that it be explored to meet the demand we face.”
The medical center was closed in 2009 after nearing bankruptcy, and was sold to a real estate developer for $45 million. It has sat mostly empty since, except for an urgent care center operated by SUNY Downstate on the ground floor.
The site, while smaller, would require less transformation than the sites proposed by Borough President Eric Adams in a separate letter to Governor Cuomo — which included the shuttered Brooklyn Detention Center, Floyd Bennett Field, the Red Hook Cruise Terminal, and various Department of Education buildings.
As the capacity of city hospitals reach their limits, officials have moved to set up a field hospitals, like the 1,000-bed site at Manhattan’s Javits Center, but they have yet to announce any site in Brooklyn — despite the number of confirmed cases in Kings County topping 5,000.
While none of the Beep’s proposed locations have been selected thus far, the governor has said he will tour the Red Hook Cruise Terminal on March 27, as well as three other sites in Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx.
Just two weeks into the crisis, borough hospitals are already experiencing overcrowding, according to Adams, who has continued to call on the governor to bring more beds to Brooklyn and Queens, where the highest number of cases are.
“Covid—19 cases are growing at an exponential rate and Brooklyn hospitals could reach capacity in a very short period of time,” he wrote in a March 16 letter to Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It is imperative that we act now to secure and prepare available spaces before that becomes our new reality.”