About half of the cases of a new coronavirus in the United States have been identified in New York state and in the epicenter of the outbreak, New York City, at least 13 patients died in 24 hours at a single hospital.
Cases of a new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in the U.S. surpassed 69,000 on Thursday morning, according to a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University. More than 33,000 of those cases are in the Empire State and at least 363 people have died, the most deaths in a single state in the country.
On Thursday, NYC Health + Hospitals spokesperson Christopher Miller told WNBC Elmhurst Hospital in Queens had 13 people die in a 24-hour period. He said the number is consistent with the number of patients in the intensive care unit and added that Elmhurst is at the "center" of the health crisis.
"The frontline staff are going above and beyond in this crisis, and we continue surging supplies and personnel to this critical facility to keep pace with the crisis," Miller said.
Newsweek reached out to Elmhurst Hospital but did not receive a response in time for publication.
About 15 percent of cases in the state require hospitalization, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo. To make sure New York could respond to the outbreak, he implored the federal government, private businesses and members of the general public to offer any and all help possible.
Instead of spreading resources out across the country, Cuomo advocated for a "rolling deployment" to help states that need equipment the most. He asked President Donald Trump and his administration to send mass amounts of equipment to New York, including ventilators and hospital beds. Then, when New York makes it over the "mountain," as Cuomo referred to it, the resources would be sent to the next state that gets hit hard with the new coronavirus.
"I will personally guarantee it and personally guarantee it," Cuomo said. "We're asking the country to help us, we will return the favor."
The graphic below, provided by Statista, shows the stark rise in COVID-19 cases in New York state, compared to Washington and California.
On Tuesday, Mount Sinai West nursing manager Kious Jordan Kelly passed away. He was hospitalized on March 17 after treating coronavirus patients.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our nursing staff," the hospital said in a statement. "Today, we lost another heroa compassionate colleague, friend and selfless caregiver."
Health care professionals are among those with the greatest risk of contracting the virus, given that their level of exposure can be much higher and personnel shortages have been a concern from the outset. To mobilize health care workers, Cuomo asked former nurses and doctors to contact their previous employer and be on-call as a reserve workforce.
As of Wednesday, 40,000 people signed up for the surge health care force. Among those people are more than 20,000 nurses, 2,200 physicians, and 2,409 nurse practitioners.
"God bless them," Cuomo said. "That is a big, big deal because you can create beds, you can find the equipment, but you have to have the staff for those additional beds ... and you have to have staff when the existing staff gets ill or just can't work the hours that we're going to need people to be working."
At the plea of the governor, six thousand mental health professionals volunteered to provide free, online mental health services for people who may be struggling during the outbreak. Along with hopefully having sufficient staff, New York now has enough personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, for health care workers, according to Cuomo.
New York has an extraordinary number of cases and the governor warned people that they must stay home and practice social distancing because the worst is yet to come.
"It's going to go up, it's going to reach a high point, it's going to tip, it's going to go back down," Cuomo said. "We're still on the way up the mountain."
World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Mask and glove usage