A $21 million field hospital in Brooklyn, New York, built to deal exclusively with a predicted flood of COVID-19 patients, has been shut down.
The number of COVID-19 patients treated? Zero, The City reported.
The facility was part of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s demand for thousands of additional hospital beds for what he predicted would be a massive influx of COVID patients. The city built smaller facilities at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center (350 beds) and Stony Point on Long Island, along with a 2,910-bed medical center at the Javitz Center.
All told, the city shelled out $350 million for facilities it never needed.
The City reported:
Earlier this month, the makeshift hospital at the tennis center closed after taking in 79 patients, according to City Hall officials. It cost $19.8 million to construct and revert back, the officials said.
The lower-profile Red Hook terminal hospital was slated to open in mid-April but wasn’t ready for service until May 4. By then, citywide hospital utilization had already fallen by half its April 12 highpoint, to about 6,000 patients.
City officials say the $20.8 million site, constructed by Texas-based contractor SLSCO under a no-bid emergency contract, is now being demobilized after seeing no medical activity.
The same thing happened with the Javitz Center, which Cuomo demanded the feds turn into a hospital, outfitted with expensive medical equipment and nearly 3,000 beds. How’d that work out? “As of April 7, the convention center had admitted only 66 patients,” Business Insider reported. By April 20, Javitz had treated just 1,000 patients.
Cuomo also demanded that President Donald Trump dispatch a Navy ship (that was, at the time, in port being overhauled) to New York City ASAP. Mr. Trump ordered the USNS Comfort, outfitted with 500 beds to handle the overflow from packed hospitals, up to New York City.
Turns out that wasn’t needed, either. “Nearly 90% of the US Navy hospital ship in New York is empty amid coronavirus fight,” CNBC wrote in mid-April. “As of Friday [April 17], 71 of the USNS Comfort’s 500 beds were occupied.”
By the end, the ship was little used. “The USNS Comfort, a hospital ship operated by the U.S. Navy that arrived following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pleas for federal assistance, treated 182 patients during its nearly four weeks docked at Pier 90 in midtown Manhattan, according to ABC-7 news.”
The ship was sent home after Cuomo said, “we don’t need it any more.”
Who’s footing the bill for all this? City officials “expect the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pick up the costs for both of the temporary hospitals — which include an additional $2 million paid out to a second firm for construction management,” The City reported.
“The federal Army Corps of Engineers also spent more than $350 million for field hospitals in the New York City region that had been sought by Cuomo but were never utilized — including $136 million for a facility at Stony Brook on Long Island, according to the Associated Press,” The City wrote.