New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that he is prepared to send 400 ventilators to Massachusetts on a day’s notice even as he’s faced criticism in his home state for commandeering the lifesaving devices from upstate hospitals for the fight against the coronavirus in New York City.
“We know how important ventilators are. If their numbers keep going up and if they have to scramble, I said, ‘You were there for us and we’re going to be there for you,'” Cuomo said referencing the surge of cases in Massachusetts during his daily press briefing on Sunday.
Cuomo drew backlash earlier this month when he ordered community hospitals upstate to send their ventilators to New York City where the states’ vast majority of cases are.
Cuomo said he spoke with the Massachusetts governor on Saturday and pledged the lifesaving ventilators that are needed to provide critical care to the sickest coronavirus patients. His administration has already identified 400 ventilators that can be delivered to Massachusetts within 24 hours if needed, Cuomo said.
Earlier this month Baker sent 300,000 N95 masks to New York health care workers after the New England Patriots plane went on a mission to China to pick up more than a million of the protective masks that were purchased by team owner Robert Kraft.
Massachusetts now ranks third in the nation for the number of coronavirus cases, with 36,372 as of Saturday. Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters last week Massachusetts has reached a long-anticipated surge in cases and said hospitals are starting to feel the strain. Temporary field hospitals at the South Boston convention center and at Worcester’s DCU center are starting to fill as hospitals’ capacity gets stretched thin and thousands of new patients are diagnosed with COVID-19 every day.
“Right now our neighbors in Massachusetts are looking at an increase in cases … . “We wish them well and anything they need, we’re going to be there,” Cuomo said.
The U.S. has roughly 160,000 ventilators at hospitals scattered throughout the country and another 12,000 to 13,000 stored in the national stockpile, according to the Center for Health Security at Johns Hopkins University. Demand for the breathing machines could be 31 times higher, experts at Harvard Medical School said in a New England Journal of Medicine report last month.
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