Watch CBS News

NYC Nurse Says Hospital Doesn't Have Enough Supplies To Protect Patients, Staff Amid Coronavirus Outbreak: 'As Health Care Workers, We're Scared'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Health care workers in New York City say they are ill-equipped to fight the spread of the coronavirus, and they don't have enough supplies to protect their patients or themselves.

CBS2's Ali Bauman talked to a nurse from the Bronx.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text 692692 | Westchester Testing Call 1(888)-364-3065 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Case Tracker | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

"As health care workers, we're scared," Michelle Gonzalez said.

In between her shifts as an ICU nurse at Montefiore Medical Center, Gonzalez bought her own box of face masks at the pharmacy this weekend because she says the hospital just does not have enough.

"We're being told to reutilize some of these masks if we're not in the patient's room for a long time," she said. "We don't want to reuse a mask that we're going to touch with our hands, our bare hands, and then go and put it back on our face when it could have the COVID virus on it. We find it important that we don't reutilize these masks so that we don't put the rest of our community and our fellow co-workers at risk."

With a near 20% hospitalization rate of cases in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state's hospitals will not be able to keep up and there won't be enough supplies or beds to meet peak demand, expected in 45 days.

"They are expecting as many as 55,000-110,000 hospital beds will be needed at that point," Cuomo said.


Four local Congressmen are asking the White House to deploy a Navy hospital ship to hold New York City patients, and Coney Island Hospital is looking to temporarily expand into MCU Park.

Tuesday, the state opened a new drive-thru testing facility at Jones Beach with more expected to open on Staten Island and in Suffolk and Rockland counties.

The state is asking retired doctors and nurses to volunteer as reserve staff in case there's a shortage, but the governor says New York's hospital system still needs federal help.

"We cannot do this on our own," Cuomo said. "This government has does somersaults. It's performed better than ever before ... This government cannot meet this crisis without the resources and capacity of the federal government. I spoke to the president this morning again. He is ready, willing and able to help."

"All we are trying to do is reduce the rate that the transmission of this virus goes around the state. We would like to reduce the amount of mortality here and we cannot do that unless we have the proper equipment," Gonzalez said.

CEOs from every New York City hospital are now working to develop a collective patient surge plan to present to the state.


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.