Thirteen patients have died in one day at a New York hospital where some patients are dying waiting for beds.
A doctor at the hospital in Queens described the situation as “apocalyptic”, with multiple patients an hour at the 545-bed public hospital nearing death from the coronavirus.
The situation is so severe that a refrigerated truck has been stationed outside to hold dead bodies, according to the New York Times.
Elmhurst Hospital Center, in the New York borough of Queens, is at the centre of the nationwide coronavirus outbreak. On Wednesday, New York City had 20,011 confirmed cases and 280 deaths.
“Elmhurst is at the center of this crisis, and it’s the number one priority of our public hospital system right now,” said New York City’s public hospital system in a statement.
“The front line 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.”, it added.
According to reports, the Elmhurst hospital has been operating at more than 125% capacity, whilst a hospital spokesperson admitted that admissions were “consistent with the number of ICU patients being treated there”.
One nurse described scenes as being like a “warzone”, telling the New York Post that “New patients are lined up the doors and there aren’t enough beds to hold them. Equipment is running out faster than we can restock it. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The Queens hospital has begun relocating patients not suffering from coronavirus to other hospitals, as it attempts to dedicate all care towards coronavirus treatment and introduce more intensive care units.
On Monday, Bill de Blasio praised Elmhurst’s health workers. The New York Mayor added that the hospital had experienced an “an extraordinary amount of activity.”
Queens, which has around a third of the confirmed cases in New York City, has the lowest number of hospital beds per capita of all five boroughs, according to state health department data.
A Federal Emergency Management Agency briefing obtained by The New York Times suggests that almost all of the city’s intensive care beds are expected to be full before Friday.