QUEENS — Elmhurst Hospital in Queens is proving to be ground zero for the coronavirus crisis in New York City as 13 people there lost their battle with the aggressive virus in a single day this week.
The lines for care are long and the desperation on patients' faces is growing. Nurses and doctors on the front lines are struggling to handle the mounting toll.
"We are terrified. Everybody is terrified," said Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez of the New York Nurses Association. "We feel an obligation to take care of our patients."
The city-run hospital has 545 beds and is transforming into an all-COVID-19 emergency care center as regular patients are being sent elsewhere so the hospital can focus on the crisis.
However, the New York Times reports they've had to make do with only a few dozen ventilators, with one doctor calling the situation there "apocalyptic."
Queens is now the epicenter of the outbreak in the city with at least 6,400 COVID-19 cases, nearly doubling Manhattan’s.
Citywide, 88 people died in one day Wednesday. However Mayor Bill de Blasio insists most city hospitals are equipped to handle the current situation.
Meanwhile Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted social distancing for helping alleviate some of the hospitals in the state, saying it seemed the hospitalization rate had slowed a bit.
As of Wednesday morning, New York had a total of 30,811 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the state, according to the governor.