ALBANY, N.Y. — The Chinese government is sending New York 1,000 ventilators and Oregon is shipping another 140 to help respond to the state’s ballooning number of Covid-19 patients that has sent political leaders hustling for equipment, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a briefing Saturday.
“We’re all in the same battle here and the battle is stopping the spread of the virus,” he told reporters. “Stop the virus here. It’s better for the state of Oregon, it’s better for the nation.”
Cuomo said the shipment from China is expected to arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday. The additional supply of ventilators could delay a shortage that Cuomo warned on Thursday could arrive within a week.
“We’ll be sending 140 ventilators to help NY because Oregon is in a better position right now. We must do all that we can to help those on the front lines of this response,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown wrote on Twitter Saturday.
New York has the most confirmed cases and deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus pandemic. More than 600 people have died since Friday, bring the grim tally to 3,565 deaths. More than 113,000 have tested positive for the virus.
Cuomo said New York would assist Oregon, and other places in the nation, once the state has passed the peak.
“We will return it double-fold, because that’s who we are,” Cuomo said. “Stop the fire in New York: kind, generous, also smart.”
The Cuomo administration has estimated that when the “apex” of the coronavirus outbreak in New York arrives, 37,000 ventilators will be needed. An earlier order from China for 17,000 ventilators ultimately only yielded about 2,500 machines, the governor said. The federal government has sent about 4,000 ventilators.
Cuomo said the total federal stockpile of ventilators was only about 10,000 and confirmed Saturday President Donald Trump’s comments during a Friday briefing that the federal government had sent additional ventilators to New York that day. The governor could not immediately provide an exact number of ventilators received recently from the Trump administration.
Trump on Friday also said he believed New York already has enough ventilators and suggested the state should’ve prepared years ago by buying more of them.
“We’re doing our best for New York… but we have a lot of states that need to be taken care of,” the president said. “We happen to think he’s well served with ventilators but we’re going to find out.”
The biggest piece of assistance from the federal government will be when the temporary 2,500-bed hospital being built at the Javits Convention Center in New York City begins accepting Covid-19 patients on a broad scale, Cuomo said.
That hospital was initially intended as a backfill for patients with other ailments.
Cuomo also said that his order to take 20 percent of ventilators not in use from upstate hospitals would garner about 500 ventilators to be deployed to the New York City area, where the majority of hospitalizations from the coronavirus are. The outbreak is also growing on Long Island, which now accounts for 22 percent of hospitalizations statewide. New York City accounts for 65 percent.
Cuomo is facing pushback from upstate Republican congressional members and local officials over the plan to redeploy ventilators.
The governor also plans to sign an executive order for medical students who have not yet graduated to begin practicing, as part of an effort to secure additional staff.
In California, officials have been girding for an expected burst of new cases by casting the widest possible net for more supplies and personnel. Gov. Gavin Newsom said California would “absolutely, unequivocally,” share the fruits of those efforts with New York and other states if possible, and he noted that he’s been coordinating with procurement managers elsewhere to prevent undue competition.
But the governor stressed that California must fortify its own defenses ahead of an expected May peak of infections.
“To the extent we have the resources, resourceful folks including people, not just PPE, we would consider doing that,” Newsom said of sending supplies to other states. “But let me just make this clear: we are preparing for a scenario where we need 50,000 beds. We need hundreds of millions of line items of PPE. We are working day and night to find new ventilators.”
Jeremy B. White contributed to this report.