The cavernous Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will be transformed into a field hospital in the near future, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday, as New York State rushes to increase its hospital capacity while cases of the coronavirus skyrocket.
The cruise terminal in Red Hook’s Clinton Wharf will add 1,000 beds to the state’s roster, as it attempts to increase its hospital capacity from roughly 53,000 to 140,000 before the outbreak’s peak, which officials estimate could only be three weeks away.
Along with the cruise terminal, Cuomo announced a number of other field hospitals in the outer boroughs and suburbs.
“I want to have one in every borough,” the governor said on Friday. “I want to have one for The Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn.”
Two field hospitals are currently in place in Manhattan, after the arrival of the USNS Comfort on Monday and the installation of 1,000 beds in the Javits Center by the National Guard within one week.
The Downtown Brooklyn Marriott and Brooklyn Center Nursing Home in Crown Heights are also being considered as field hospital locations, according to Cuomo.
Local elected officials, who had been lobbying the state for weeks to utilize more Brooklyn locations for field hospitals, commended the decision.
“This is an ‘all-in’ moment, perhaps more so than at any point in our lifetimes,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “Every facet of government must be working overtime to provide the medical resources and infrastructure needed to flatten the curve and save lives.”
The Manhattan field hospitals will not be used to treat COVID-19 patients, the governor said, but will be used to take some of the load off the city’s dangerously overburdened hospital system. Officials have not yet indicated whether the Brooklyn field hospital will have the same use.
Statewide, the count of confirmed cases has shot to over 65,000, with 1,200 deaths, and the governor says he is expecting things to get worse before the peak.
Brooklyn hospitals are among those struggling to meet the enormous demand. Staff at Brookdale Hospital, which has over 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of this weekend, described the situation as a “war zone” in a recent CNN report.
And space-strapped hospitals have had to resort to storing the bodies of the deceased in refrigerated trucks outside, as captured in a disturbing video, which shows hospital staff using a forklift to load the cadavers onto a trailer outside the Brooklyn Hospital Center in Fort Greene.
Meanwhile, state officials are in a race against time to add as many additional beds as possible.
“We are doing everything we can,” Cuomo said. “We are doing things that, when we put them on the table, people thought they were impossible. But we are now doing the impossible.”