One Brooklyn Congressman is leaning on his military background to push the feds to enlist the army base in his district as a makeshift hospital for civilians during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a letter dated March 23, Congressman Max Rose pleaded with Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to consider southern Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton Army Base when deploying military field hospitals to help address the surge in hospital visits stemming from the novel coronavirus.
Esper announced early Monday that, while the military “can’t meet everybody’s needs” as things escalate, the Department of Defense is prepared to deploy military field hospitals in areas like New York and Seattle to aid in combating the virus’ spread.
Rose, who served in the United States Army as a platoon leader in the Afghanistan War, maintains that having a military outpost in New York City is essential, as it has become an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re waging war on the coronavirus and here in New York City we desperately need reinforcements,” Rose said in a statement. “We’ve already seen decisive action by the city, state, and federal government to drastically increase our hospital bed capacity, including to deploy the USNS Comfort to New York City, but we have so much more work to get head of the impending surge in patients.”
In his letter to Esper, Rose called Fort Hamilton an “ideal site for deployment of a medical field hospital,” citing easy accessibility.
“Based at Fort Hamilton, the field hospital will be able to access the outer boroughs of New York City that have relatively fewer medical options than more central boroughs,” the letter reads. “For instance, Staten Island directly across the river from Fort Hamilton has only three hospitals and has become a target towards which the National Guard and State have surged resources. More widely, the Belt Parkway directly outside Fort Hamilton offers easy access to the rest of New York City and the wider region.”
Named after founding father Alexander Hamilton, the Brooklyn army base is located at the tip of Bay Ridge, not far from Staten Island. It hosted Federal Emergency Management Agency services and other resources in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and was designated a historical landmark in the National Registry in 1971.
Rose’s call comes as lawmakers across the borough and the city suggest sites to increase hospital capacity. As of Monday afternoon, New York City has 12,339 confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19.