STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — President Donald Trump on Sunday activated the National Guard for three states hit hardest by the coronavirus (COVID-19) — New York, California and Washington.
Trump said that governors in each state would be “in command locally” of the National Guard, underscoring the importance of a specific response on a state-by-state level.
“And through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), the federal government will be funding 100% of the cost of deploying national guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus while those governors remain in command,” Trump said of the deployment.
“We’ll be following them and we hope they can do the job, and I think they will,” Trump said.
Echoing the announcement made earlier by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Trump said that four large federal medical stations with 1,000 beds will be established in New York. Cuomo said medical facilities erected by the Army Corps of Engineers at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan would able to house 1,000 patients.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said that New York State’s original capacity of 53,000 hospital beds and 3,100 intensive-care beds — which are fitted with vitally-important ventilators — will not be enough to satisfy the demand of hospitalizations that will be caused by the virus, the Advance/SiLive.com reported.
“You will be short thousands of ICU beds, thousands of ventilators,” Cuomo previously said.
Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) and Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH) have enacted measures to maximize their capacity well ahead of the potential surge in hospitalizations, the Advance/SiLive.com previously reported.
Also, officials reaffirmed the need to prioritize testing toward the most vulnerable cases after heavily-affected states restricted testing.
Vice President Mike Pence said the country will be “caught up” on a backlog of tests by the middle of next week, but said the Trump administration is “directing commercial labs to prioritize people who are in the hospital for coronavirus tests” in the effort “to get the results of that as quickly as possible for every American.”
Current National Guard COVID-19 response missions, according to the Military Times, include, but are not limited to:
Delivering food in hard-hit communities;
Manning call centers to be a knowledgeable and calming voice;
Providing critical personal protective equipment training and sample collection to first responders and hospital personnel;
Supporting local emergency management agencies with response planning and execution;
Providing support to testing facilities
Serving as response liaisons and support to state Emergency Operations Centers;
Proving transportation and assessment support to healthcare providers;
Assisting with disinfecting/cleaning of common public spaces;
Collecting and delivering samples.”
‘WIDESPREAD SHORTAGES’ OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday said that New York City would begin organizing and pursuing production of vitally important ventilators and medical supplies amid “widespread shortages” in hospitals as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
During Sunday evening’s press conference, Pete Gaynor, the administrator of FEMA, said that medical supplies will be sent to affected states within the next two days.
“We are shipping. All those supplies, to all the demands, all the asks, all the governance, every day, we are — we’re prepared to go to zero in the stockpile to meet demand,” Gaynor said.
On MNSBC today, de Blasio said: “The President’s remarks was a beginning of recognition of the crisis, a beginning of sending help where it’s needed most,” but added, “you know, until it arrives, I’m going to really be questioning a little bit because I’ve heard lots of things from the President over the last three years that didn’t end up happening and I’ve heard lots of things about the coronavirus that changed the next day.”
“So, a step maybe in the right direction,” de Blasio said, while mentioning that exceptional measures still need to be taken to address the economic impact of the virus.
Cuomo on Sunday called for the nationalization of the effort to create and acquire medical supplies needed to manage the coronavirus outbreak at healthcare facilities.
“I think the federal government should order factories to manufacture masks, gowns, ventilators, the essential medical equipment that is going to make the difference between life and death,” Cuomo said.
Trump, while praising Cuomo’s effort for New York, said “we’re a country not based on nationalizing our business.”
“The concept of nationalizing our business is not a good concept,” Trump said, mentioning that multiple companies have “called us” to make medical supplies. “If you go the national route … we’re going to tell a company to make a ventilator, they’re not even going to know what a ventilator is,” he said.
While saying that action may have to be taken through the Defense Prevention Act, which would effectively nationalize efforts to produce necessary supplies, such as masks, he said the country’s current system is “backing up the governors” rather than changing the system that supplies and allocates medical equipment.
©2020 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.
Visit Staten Island Advance, N.Y. at www.silive.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.