New York is slated to run out of ventilators in less than a week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference on Thursday.
Fears of ventilator shortages have prompted officials to order hospitals cancel all elective surgeries, recommend the use of anesthesia machines as ventilators and the conversion of BiPAP machines into ventilators, and advise a “splitting” method that features a single ventilator serving two patients.
“It’s not easy, it’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing,” Cuomo told reporters in Albany. “We have six days of ventilators in our stockpile at the current burn rate.”
Patients can spend weeks on ventilators and the longer they’re on ventilators, the more likely they’ll die. Patients with COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, are on ventilators for an average of 11 to 21 days, according to data from New York. The average time for patients without the disease is three to four days.
The federal government has in recent weeks sent 4,400 ventilators to New York and may not be in a position to send the number needed by states across the nation, Cuomo said. A number of companies have started producing ventilators, including General Motors and Ford. New York has over 11,000 ventilators from those already in hospitals, those that were in its stockpile, or those that were already on hand, and is working on buying more.
Ventilators are machines that help lungs work. They’re typically used during recovery from some surgeries, for people suffering from serious conditions like a brain injury or lung disease, and for babies with premature lung development. The machines pump oxygen into a person’s body while removing carbon dioxide. Most require electricity while some can function on battery power.
The number of confirmed cases in New York increased to 92,831, an increase of 8,669, while hospitalizations rose to 13,833, a spike of 1,607 from the day prior.
Three hundred and seventy four new patients entered intensive care as those in ICUs in New York rose to 3,396.
The number of dead from COVID-19 rose to 2,372, up by 432 over 24 hours.
New York has the highest number of cases and the most deaths in the United States. It has nearly half of the deaths in the entire nation.
Officials continued shifting the projected peak of cases after initially saying it would arrive in early to mid-April. Models now show it will arrive between seven and 30 days from now, Cuomo said, though state officials believe it’s closer to the shorter end of the range.
The models are done by outside groups and analyzed by state officials.
The projected number of hospital beds that the state may require at the peak also shifted, from up to 140,000 to between 70,000 and 110,000.
The state has 53,000 beds at the moment, with just 36,000 of them in the downstate area, where most of the cases are.
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Author: Zachary Stieber