Mayor Bill de Blasio paid it forward Friday at a visit to Interfaith Medical Center near the border of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Hizzoner and his First Lady Chirlane McCray joined first responders, hospital supporters and area Councilman Robert Cornegy in the nightly 7 pm clap for healthcare heroes.
In his daily briefing the next morning, de Blasio referred to the non-profit community hospital as “a wonderful institution.”
“Earlier in this decade, a lot of us in Brooklyn fought to protect Interfaith Hospital from closing,” the mayor said, referring back to late 2012, when the medical center declared bankruptcy.
In August of 2013, the medical facility announced that it was in the process of shutting down. But, a report released that same summer by then-Public Advocate de Blasio warned of “devastating consequences” if Interfaith Medical Center were to close.
Financial lifelines were eventually thrown to the ailing hospital, which continues to service more than 11,000 inpatients and more than 200,000 outpatient visits each year, according to its website.
“Thank God we all did work with the community and the community stood up strong to protect Interfaith,” de Blasio said Saturday.
Most recently, the hospital was one of three the state wished to consolidate services at, as part of a $700 million plan to boost preventative and primary care services. The plan, which would have slashed several dozen beds at Interfaith, has been put on hold to treat coronavirus patients, according to The City.
Interfaith, located at 1545 Atlantic Ave. in Crown Heights, has been “front and center in this crisis,” the mayor said.
In the area, at least 1,200 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to city data.
Councilman Cornegy, whose district includes the medical center, said he was “honored” to join de Blasio in saluting healthcare workers, but also noted that the support front line workers need right now extends far beyond nightly applause.
“Those treating our family, friends, and neighbors during this pandemic need to know they have our thanks,” he told Brooklyn Paper. “In addition to honoring their service in nightly salutes, we can manifest our gratefulness for the work they do by supporting provision of the appropriate personal protective equipment they need, by adherence to social distancing and mask wearing to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and by continuing to look out for one another. Our shared communities can make it through this difficult moment by drawing inspiration from the spirit of service of those Interfaith healthcare workers and all those doing essential work.”