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Officials announced Friday that the Brooklyn Field Hospital in New York City will be dismantled, despite state criteria that a certain number of beds be available to handle any potential influx of patients stemming from the novel coronavirus outbreak as the region looks to reopen.
The City first reported on the closure of the $21 million facility that was pushed forward by Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio back in March. De Blasio announced plans on March 31 to transform the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook into a hospital that would be able to accommodate 670 beds for coronavirus patients. The hospital will now reportedly close its doors without having ever treated a single patient.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, has said that all regions within the state must keep at least 30 percent of their share of total hospital beds open in preparation for a potential second wave of COVID-19; it is one of the seven metrics a region must meet in order to begin Phase One of reopening. New York City is currently 2 percent short of meeting the 30-percent goal of total open hospital beds, according to the state’s Regional Monitoring Dashboard.
The contract to build the field hospital was reportedly given to Texas-based contractor SLSCO under a no-bid emergency deal. The medical center was supposed to open in April but wasn’t finished until May 4, according to The Daily Mail.
Fox News reached out to the offices of both Cuomo and de Blasio for comment and to ask if the closure will have any effect on the number of beds that are being calculated for the region in order to meet the threshold for Phase 1 of the state’s reopening. Neither office responded to the requests for comment.
Samaritan’s Purse field hospital in Central Park had also been dismantled due to public outcry about the political and religious beliefs of the hospital’s backers. The final patients were discharged from the 68-bed hospital on May 5 and the dozens of tents have been decontaminated to be sent back to the warehouse in North Carolina, Samaritan’s Purse said in a statement to Fox News.
The news of the second field hospital closure comes on the same day that the death rate from COVID-19 in New York dropped below 100 for the first time since March 24. These positive trends indicate that the virus is being beaten back, and the numbers could lead to the Long Island region reopening as soon as Wednesday, according to the governor.
“It’s a sign that we are making real progress and I feel good about that,” Cuomo said during a press briefing.
On Friday, 84 people in New York died from coronavirus — down from 109 a day earlier. The peak of daily deaths was 799 people on April 8.
Not all of the news out of New York has been positive, however, as Cuomo continues to face criticism for his decision to allow elderly patients recovering from COVID-19 to re-enter nursing home facilities.
“New York followed the president’s agencies’ guidance,” Cuomo said. “What New York did was follow what the Republican Administration said to do. That’s not my attempt to politicize it. It’s my attempt to depoliticize it. So don’t criticize the state for following the president’s policy.”
An Associated Press report from Friday was highly critical of the way Cuomo handled the state’s nursing home crisis. It found more than 4,300 coronavirus-infected elderly patients were sent to vulnerable nursing homes under a controversial state directive that was ultimately scrapped amid national scrutiny.
As of Saturday evening, there were more than 1.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and nearly 97,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Fox News’ Marisa Schultz and Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.