Retired doctors being drafted as Covid surge pushes New York hospitals to capacity

Graeme Massie

Watch: Cuomo announces "emergency hospital measures"

Retired doctors and nurses are being drafted as the Covid surge pushes New York hospitals to capacity, says state governor Andrew Cuomo.

The virus is close to overwhelming hospitals and the state is preparing to bring back retired medical workers to the front line, said Mr Cuomo.

“It’s a new phase in the war against Covid,’’ said Mr Cuomo as he announced every hospital in the state must draw up a list of retired staff to call on.

Daily hospitalisations in the state are currently four times the level seen in June.

The state’s largest hospital systems have also been told to begin spreading patients out across their facilities to take pressure off busier ones.

“This is a mandate from the state Department of Health: You must distribute patients across your system,’’ said Mr Cuomo.

Retired doctors being drafted as Covid surge pushes New York hospitals to capacity (Getty Images)
Retired doctors being drafted as Covid surge pushes New York hospitals to capacity (Getty Images)

The state is also drawing up plans for regional “field hospitals” to help meet virus needs.

Mr Cuomo added that during the spring surge patients could be moved around the state to unaffected areas but that was not the case this time around.

“It is statewide. So we will have a limited ability to bring resources from upstate to downstate as we did in the spring … because literally every region is dealing with a hospital issue now," he said.

Daily hospitalisations in New York are currently more than 3,500, while in June it was around 900, and the number has risen 700 per cent since September.

The US has now seen more than 13.7 million Covid cases with more than 273,000 deaths.

Mr Cuomo added that if hospitals become overwhelmed the state could again be forced to shut down.

“We are now worried about overwhelming the hospital system,” he said.

“We lived this nightmare. We learned from this nightmare. And we’re going to correct for the lessons we learned.”

Watch: California at a COVID-19 'tipping point'

Read More

Cuomo blames conservative majority for high court Covid ruling

CDC calls emergency meeting to decide who gets Covid vaccine first

Dr Birx: Assume you have Covid-19 if you traveled for Thanksgiving

Biden announces pared-down Covid-era inauguration