Southern Brooklyn Congressman Max Rose returned to his office on April 16 after a two-week deployment with the National Guard, where he helped erect a new hospital in Staten Island to treat COVID-19 patients.
“It was a privilege to get this essential COVID-19 hospital up and running,” said Rose. “This operation was a testament to what we can accomplish as a city, state, and country when we put aside differences and focus on getting the job done.”
Rose and members of the National Guard’s 69th Infantry Regiment spent two weeks converting a recently-built psychiatric facility into a 262-bed emergency hospital focused on treating New Yorkers infected with the novel coronavirus — granting relief to Staten Island’s hospitals, which are operating at over 300 times their normal capacity, Rose told Brooklyn Paper.
Rose and his fellow National Guardsmen managed the logistics of the facility’s conversion by acquiring and installing equipment, coordinating with local hospitals, and ensuring the health and safety of the staff, said the freshman rep.
“For hospital care, you need the equipment, you need staffing, and you need to integrate it into a hospital system,” he said. “That’s what we were doing.”
Within the project’s first six days, the facility accepted its first COVID-19 patient, Rose said, and the facility’s 30-person staff has since served more than 60 people.
An Army veteran who fought in Afghanistan, Rose served with the National Guard’s 69th Infantry Regiment for a year before being elected to office in 2018, and was thrilled to be reunited with his old team — which, he said, was a coincidence.
“To be there with my unit that I used to serve with made this even more of a privilege,” he said.
And while he said the experience gave him first-hand knowledge of the harrowing devastation caused by the virus, the experience also gave him hope for the future.
“I got a sense a little earlier in terms of the incredible complexity of the coronavirus,” he said. “You also see that there is hope. Some people are getting discharged, getting reunited with their families.”