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Andrew Cuomo Signs Executive Order, Employs National Guard To Redistribute Dwindling Ventilator Supply In New York

By  Paul Bois
NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES - 2020/03/30: Following the arrival in New York City of the U.S. Naval hospital ship Comfort, NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo is seen during a press conference at the field hospital site at the Javits Center.
Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew signed an executive order allowing the state to take ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) from hospitals and redistribute them to other hospitals that need them.

Speaking at his daily press conference, Cuomo said that he will be employing the National Guard to help transport these ventilators and equipment from less-struggling parts of the state to COVID-19 hotspots like New York City.

“We do not have enough ventilators. Period. I am signing an Executive Order allowing the state to take ventilators and redistribute to hospitals in need,” he tweeted on Friday.

“I’m not going to be in a position where people are dying and we have several hundred ventilators in our own state, somewhere else,” Cuomo said on Friday, as reported by Politico. “I apologize for the hardship to those institutions — ultimately there is no hardship, if you don’t get the ventilator back, I give you my personal word I will pay you for the ventilator — but I’m not going to let people die because we didn’t redeploy these ventilators.”

Cuomo told reporters that they should not use the word “seize” in reference to his order, adding that resources will shift as the COVID-19 wave moves throughout the state.

“Right now the numbers in upstate New York are lighter than the numbers in downstate New York but that is going to change,” Cuomo said. “You’re going to see that wave move through the state. … We’re going to shift resources all across the state to whatever place has that need at that time.”

As noted by The Hill, Cuomo’s announcement followed his Thursday statement when he admitted that the state will be running out of ventilators to care for sick patients in the next six days based on the needs in the hotspot areas. Certain hospitals in the state that have not been hit with a COVID-19 surge have an excess number of ventilators to help combat this.

“It’s not that we’re going to leave any health care facility without adequate equipment, but they don’t need excess equipment now,” he said.

As of this writing, the state of New York has an estimated number of 102,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 57,000 of which are in New York City alone. The state has seen 2,935 deaths with another 14,800 people hospitalized and 3,700 in intensive care. In the last 24 hours, the state has seen 562 deaths.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) grimly admitted on Friday that the city’s ventilator supply will diminish by Monday as officials predict the intensive care patients will swell to 5,000 people. “I don’t know after Sunday if we’re going to have what we need, and that’s just the ventilators,” he told CNN’s John Berman.

During his Friday press conference, Gov. Cuomo has also urged manufacturers in the state to step up on creating quality protective equipment. “It can’t be that complicated in this country and in this state to transition to make those supplies quickly,” he said.

Earlier this week, Cuomo said that New York will never be the same again after the pandemic.

“As a society, beyond just this immediate situation, we should start looking forward to understand how this experience is going to change us, or how it should change us because this is going to be transformative,” he said. “It is going to be transformative on a personal basis, on a social basis, on a systems basis.”

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