The temporary hospital at Javits Center in New York City was the first of the FEMA hospitals to open, but construction is underway at SUNY Stony Brook on Long Island for a 1000-bed field hospital. In the last week, Governor Cuomo has been highlighting the concerning growth of coronavirus cases on Long Island. On Sunday, Cuomo said in his press conference, “There is a shift to Long Island. Upstate New York is basically flat and as Long Island grows the percentage of cases in New York City has reduced.” On April 3rd, he said “Long not have as elaborate a health care system as New York City. We don’t have the same amount of resources on Long Island and we see an increase in the number of cases on Long Island and that has us very concerned.” On April 2nd, he called the number of cases “troubling.”
Construction began for the temporary field hospital on the SUNY Stony Brook campus on March 29th, a week after the federal government approved the four hospital sites across New York State. There are at least four structures and construction is taking place on the soccer fields and softball fields behind LaValle Stadium in the athletic area of the north corner of campus, located just east of the Stony Brook Long Island Railroad Station. According to SUNY Stony Brook, the location was chosen “because it is the largest open area available on campus and does not negatively impact any of our academic or residential buildings.”
Like original plan for the Javits Center and other hospitals, this field hospital is intended for non-COVID patients but with the rapid increase in cases, it seems likely it will be repurposed for COVID patients like the Javits Center and the USNS Comfort. The hospital is expected to be completed around April 18th, eleven days from now. Will it be too late?
On a side note, the Stony Brook and Setauket area has an illustrious history where the first spy ring in America was formed by George Washington during the Revolutionary War. This story was semi-fictionalized in the AMC television show TURN. The area, besides being a hotbed for early espionage activity, was also the site of a battle in 1777 — the Battle of Setauket was a failed attack by American forces. Many of the sites that were in the battle and figured in the spy ring still remain in the Colonial-era town.
Next, look inside the temporary hospital at Javits Center in New York City and the hospital inside the USNS Comfort.