Aqueduct Racetrack was recommended today as another emergency hospital in New York City to temporarily house sick residents. That proposal came given the sharply increasing numbers of coronavirus patients who are overwhelming the region’s permanent health-care facilities.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested the raceway, located in the Jamaica section of Queens, and three other locations to house 1,000 patients each. The track’s 100,000 square feet would be used for patient beds, equipment, and supplies.
Patients will be placed inside track buildings. Some health-related equipment could be stored outside the buildings, Cuomo said.
He made the recommendation while speaking at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The Javits Center is already transformed into a temporary hospital by the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Guard, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The same military organizations and FEMA will transform Aqueduct Racetrack. It will first require approval from President Donald Trump, who was born in Queens and grew up a few miles away from the track.
Currently, a parking lot at Aqueduct is being used to test patients for the COVID-19 virus, QNS.com reported. Aqueduct is the only racetrack in New York City.
The track has three courses. which are used to race thoroughbreds. Also located at the track complex is Resorts World Casino New York City.
Horse Racing Suspended at Aqueduct Racetrack
In recent weeks, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) put on live racing at Aqueduct. Critics wanted to shut it down because of the risk of spreading coronavirus, Silive.com reported.
Racing was taking place at the track from March 12 until March 19. No spectators were allowed. On Wednesday, the NYRA announced that racing at Aqueduct was suspended through at least April 5.
Recently, the $750,000 Wood Memorial, presented by Resorts World Casino, was postponed indefinitely. It was supposed to take place at Aqueduct on April 4.
Beyond the Javits Center, crews are currently preparing locations at SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Old Westbury, and the Westchester Convention Center to provide patient beds to expand hospital capacity in the metro New York region.
Cuomo wants patients to be able to use the four buildings in early to mid-April. In phase two, beyond Aqueduct, other buildings proposed for patients include CUNY College of Staten Island, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, and the New York Expo Center.
“We know at this point that any scenario will overwhelm the capacity of our healthcare system, and we are continuing to work aggressively to increase our state’s hospital capacity and flatten the curve,” Cuomo said this week.
“Our top priority is finding more beds for patients and getting the ventilators we need to ensure our most vulnerable patients are being treated properly, and we are actively scouting new locations for temporary hospital sites. This situation is not easy, but easy times don’t forge character — hard times do – and we will get through this together and be better and stronger people for it.”
Coronavirus Death Toll Mounts in New York City
As of mid-day today, there were 6,481 patients hospitalized for coronavirus in New York State, according to The New York Times. Included in those are 1,583 who are in intensive care units.
In total, New York State has seen 519 deaths from the outbreak. Included are 134 people who have died in the last 24 hours. Close to 45,000 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the state.
In Nevada, several gaming and public health experts confirmed to Casino.org that Las Vegas hotels, casinos, and public spaces, such as the Las Vegas Convention Center, could possibly house patients.
The Las Vegas Record-Journal reported Las Vegas city officials are considering housing homeless individuals at Cashman Field during the viral outbreak.