“We’re at a vital point in the battle against the disease, and we need to do everything in our power to stop it, right here, right now,” Schumer said.
One challenge for the state is the strain on the hospital system. New York has 53,000 hospitals and 3,000 beds in intensive care units, according to Cuomo. Earlier in the week, Cuomo said ICU beds in New York were at 80% capacity.
Cuomo announced Friday that state regulations will be eased that will allow hospitals to use additional space. Hospitals must develop plans for how they will use the space to expand the number of beds in the facilities.
Non-elective surgeries will be canceled, which Cuomo estimated would open up 25 to 35% of the beds.
While the state is taking action of its own, Cuomo has sought the help of the federal government. He asked Trump to mobilize the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to transform existing buildings into temporary hospitals. He also had conversations with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the coronavirus task force, when he was seeking approval to use more state labs to conduct testing.
In both cases, the federal government acted. Trump sent the Army Corps of Engineers to meet with Cuomo and the use of additional labs was approved.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.