The Big Apple’s drastic effort to build new intensive care units in city hospitals is struggling to keep up with the wave of cases from the coronavirus pandemic, The Post has learned.
New York City’s 2,449 ICU beds were 84 percent full on Monday, leaving 392 beds open for New Yorkers critically ill with COVID-19 or any other ailment, according to tallies obtained from the state Department of Health.
The Monday count by state officials does not include the USNS Comfort hospital ship or the emergency hospital at the Javits Convention Center because neither facility was accepting patients at that time.
Mayor de Blasio has frequently claimed the city, state and federal officials are quickly converting the city’s traditional hospital beds into intensive care wards but has repeatedly refused to provide any data to support the claims.
These tallies from the state DOH provide the first numerical assessment of that progress, showing the city has managed to add 1,000 new intensive care beds since the outbreak.
There were just 1,442 ICU beds across the five boroughs before pandemic struck, according to state DOH data published in January.
Hizzoner said Tuesday that battling the coronavirus may require converting all of New York City’s 20,000 hospital beds into intensive care units.
“We project that potentially all of those beds, all 20,000, will have to be turned into intensive care beds to focus on COVID-19 patients who are really, really sick,” de Blasio told NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday morning.
New York’s intensive care units are the central battlefield in the fight to save lives from COVID-19.
While officials say that 80 percent of cases result in mild symptoms, it is a harrowing ordeal for the less lucky — particularly the elderly, those with compromised immune systems or other underlying conditions like lung disease.
The vicious coronavirus can remain asymptomatic for days before it attacks the respiratory systems of patients, eventually leaving many dependent on ventilators as they struggle to survive.
Those who eventually recover are often forced to spend weeks in intensive care, far longer than the usual three or four-day stay, putting additional pressure on hospitals desperate to find additional beds.
City Hall claimed that the state’s figures were “inaccurate,” but admitted its own count showed that 80 percent of intensive care beds were filled — and continued to refuse to provide any of the underlying statistics like its tally of ICU units across the figure boroughs.
“As the Mayor has said repeatedly, this number is fluid and subject to change,” said spokeswoman Avery Cohen. “We are working as quickly as possible to convert beds into ICU beds wherever we can.”
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