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NEW YORK CITY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Friday giving New York State the right to seize ventilators and send them to hospitals in novel coronavirus hot spots.
The National Guard will be deployed to remove and redistribute ventilators and personal protection equipment from hospitals determined to have lesser need, Cuomo said at a news conference.
"I apologize to the hardship for those institutions," Cuomo said. "I'm not going to let people die."
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Hospitals not coping with a large influx of COVID-19 patients, such as those upstate, will either have the ventilators returned or be financially reimbursed, Cuomo said.
There could be several hundred ventilators moved to Long Island and New York City — which needs an estimated 15,000 — but Cuomo said the exact number had not yet been calculated.
"The burn rate is about 300 ventilators per day," Cuomo said. "If you find 300 ventilators, you've found another day."
Hot spots in New York City include BronxCare Health System and New York-Presbyterian / Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, according to the governor.
New York State had 102,863 confirmed cases and lost 2935 lives lost to COVID-19 as of Friday morning, Cuomo said.
More than 10,000 New York City dwellers had been hospitalized for COVID-19 and 1,562 had died from complications as of Thursday evening, according to the Health Department.
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Cuomo has been raising concerns for weeks about a global shortage of the machines, which pump air into the lungs of patients critically ill with COVID-19, saying Tuesday the state was going "broke" trying to buy them.
The governor once again called on the Trump administration to send its stock of ventilators to the state, promising to send them forward once the COVID-19 outbreak had peaked.
"Help the place that has the crisis," Cuomo said. "New York is in crisis, help New York."