BINGHAMTON, NY – Upstate political leaders are reacting with displeasure to Governor Cuomo’s latest order that would seize 20% of the unused ventilators in upstate hospitals to be transferred downstate.
During his daily COVID-19 briefing, County Executive Garnar expressed concern about the plan which also includes personal protective equipment or PPE.
Cuomo says the National Guard will be deployed to gather the supplies and that the ventilators will be returned once the crisis is over or upstate hospitals will be reimbursed.
The Governor says that if the wave of coronavirus cases moves from downstate to upstate, then downstate hospitals will return the favor.
Garnar says this would be a bad time to lose the breathing machines as UHS just submitted an order to purchase more.
“If they’ve ordered ventilators that they haven’t yet received yet, having to give up a certain amount of them for other places, when they’re saying they’re already not meeting their need, that’s concerning to me,” says Garnar.
Lourdes and UHS both say they have not received a request for medical supplies, nor have they been asked to take in downstate patients.
The hospitals have not provided NewsChannel 34 with a number of how many ventilators they currently have but the county says it’s fewer than 100.
Meanwhile, Broome announced that as part of its emergency preparation plan that it is establishing an emergency temporary morgue to hold COVID-19 fatalities.
Officials would not say where it is nor how many bodies it can hold, only indicating that it is on county property, that it will hold twice the capacity of the current morgues at local hospitals and that it’s being done simply as a precaution.