NY Gov. Cuomo Orders National Guard to Seize Ventilators

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New York Army National Guard soldiers distribute food in Westchester County, N.Y. on March 12, 2020.
New York Army National Guard soldiers distribute food parcels in Westchester County, New York on March 12, 2020 as part of the response to the effort to contain a cluster of coronavirus, cases in New Rochelle, New York. (U.S. Army National Guard/Col. Steve Rowe)

ALBANY - New York had its most deadly night due to the coronavirus, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to say Friday he will call in the National Guard to take unused ventilators and supplies to redistribute them to the places of greatest need.

New York had a shocking 562 deaths overnight -- an average of 23 deaths an hour -- as the total number of deaths in the state due to COVID-19 hit 2,935, Cuomo announced.

"You had more death, you had more people coming into hospitals than any other night," he said somberly.

In response, Cuomo said he will sign an executive order that will allow the National Guard to go to hospitals and health-care facilities to take unused ventilators and other medical supplies so they can be used in parts of the state in desperate need of more resources.

"I'm not going to let people die because we didn't redistribute ventilators," Cuomo said.

He said the drastic step is needed, despite hesitancy from some health-care administrators, because the state is running out of ventilators mainly in New York City -- where more than half of the cases are located.

Cuomo said the state will either bring the ventilators back when they are finished being used or the state will pay the facilities for new ones.

The goal is not to leave other facilities without any equipment, just no excess equipment. He said he hopes there are several hundred ventilators available.

"Several hundred could save several hundred lives," Cuomo said

The announcement comes after Cuomo warned Thursday that the state could run out of ventilators within six days and as projections have estimated New York might have 16,000 deaths by the time the virus runs its course.

This article is written by Joseph Spector Gannett New York from Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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