'Center of the Crisis': NY Hospital Sees 13 Deaths in 24 Hours

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By , 1010 WINS

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- New York City is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 20,000 cases.

Hospitals are under siege with healthcare professionals working around the clock trying to treat patients.

One of those hospitals is Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, which is at the center of the crisis. The hospital had 13 fatalities in 24 hours and a refrigerated truck is currently parked outside of the hospital to act as a temporary morgue.

LISTEN LIVE: 1010 WINS' extensive, ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the tri-state

The city-run hospital has 545 beds and saw the deaths over a 24-hour period Tuesday, New York City Health and Hospitals spokesman Christopher Miller said.

"Elmhurst is at the center of this crisis, and it's the number one priority of our public hospital system right now. The frontline staff are going above and beyond in this crisis, and we continue surging supplies and personnel to this critical facility to keep pace with the crisis. We are literally increasing the effective capacity of the hospital on a daily basis by sending more doctors, nurses, ventilators and PPE to meet demand," the health department said in a statement.

"Over the last 24 hours, 13 people have passed away, but that is consistent with the number of ICU patients being treated there. Staff are doing everything in our power to save every person who contracts COVID-19, but unfortunately this virus continues to take an especially terrible toll on the elderly and people with preexisting conditions. We need New Yorkers to do their part. Stay home. And don't seek emergency care for mild or moderate symptoms."   

NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson spoke to 1010 WINS Thursday about the situation at Elmhurst. "Right now, you're already seeing the scenes out of Elmhurst in Queens I don't say this to frighten people but to level with folks but we will be seeing more of that in the coming weeks. 

The most important thing we can do is to halt transmission while simultaneously building up our hospital system."

And sadly, a nurse at another NYC hospital has died of coronavirus-related complications.

Mount Sinai West nursing manager Kious Jordan Kelly died Tuesday. He was in his 40s and colleagues described him as compassionate and devoted to his patients.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our nursing staff. The safety of our staff and patients has never been of greater importance and we are taking every precaution possible to protect everyone," the hospital said in a statement.

Kelly was hospitalized March 17.

On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said "April will be tougher than March, May could be even tougher than April," he said.

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