Faced with the worst global pandemic in modern history and a wave crashing upon the shores of our hospitals as more and more patients infected with COVID-19 aka the coronavirus require hospitalization, we need Governor Andrew Cuomo and the federal government to convert the vacant Kingsbridge Armory into an emergency coronavirus hospital
One such facility is already being constructed at the Javits Center in Manhattan but our borough not only has the space to but we need it to in order to help save as many lives as possible.
There’s no question that our hospitals need to expand capacity to prepare for the rising cases of patients needing hospitalization due to severe symptoms from COVID-19 so why not use this large, vacant space that’s been sitting unused for decades?
New York State Assemblyman José Rivera, who represents the 78th Assembly District where the Kingsbridge Armory is located, has called Governor Cuomo to do just that.
In a press release dated March 22nd, Assemblyman Rivera says, “I believe it’s important [to] have a second temporary hospital located in New York City, so I call on Governor Cuomo to designate The Bronx’s Kingsbridge Armory as the site of the fifth temporary hospital.”
Rivera added, “The Kingsbridge armory, at almost 5 acres, is possibly the largest armory in the world and yet remains substantially vacant and underutilized, apart for a small National Guard unit that uses the annex in the rear of the armory as its temporary quarters.”
With some of the worst health outcomes in New York City, the state and in fact the nation, Bronx residents are disproportionately at a greater risk for COVID-19 and life-threatening complications so having such a facility within our border is critical if we’re to succeed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, high risk groups for severe illness as a result of COVID-19 includes:
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
- People who have serious heart conditions
- People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment
- People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk
The Bronx has the highest rates of hospitalization for asthma in the the entire state of New York as well as the highest morality rate in the state. In the South Bronx, those rates are significantly higher and 9x the national average.
In terms of heart disease, The Bronx also has the highest rate of cardiovascular related deaths in New York City indicating that a significant portion of the population suffers from such conditions.
Rates of HIV in The Bronx are also among the highest in New York placing them in the immunocompromised category and as far as obesity goes, 30% of Bronx residents are obese and 16% of Bronx residents are diabetic and is the highest rate in the state of New York.
So as you can see, while expanding capacity at Javits is necessary, doing the same at the Kingsbridge Armory is critical if we’re going to save as many as possible, particularly some of the most vulnerable populations in the country.
Please, Governor Cuomo, do the right thing and use the Kingsbridge Armory!