New York City’s coronavirus crisis exploded Wednesday, claiming 13 patients at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens in 24 hours. The toll was so immense that a refrigerated truck was parked outside to hold the dead, The New York Times reported.
“It’s apocalyptic,” Dr. Ashley Bray told the paper.
A statement from the city’s public hospital system called Elmhurst “the center of this crisis.”
“It’s the number one priority of our public hospital system right now,” New York City Health and Hospitals spokesman Christopher Millers said, per the New York Daily News. He added that the “virus continues to take an especially terrible toll on the elderly and people with preexisting conditions.”
The overrun 545-bed hospital is transforming itself into a facility dedicated only to treating COVID-19 patients, the Times noted.
“It’s like working at a field hospital in the middle of a war zone,” an emergency room nurse told the New York Post. “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.”
New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, reported more than 20,000 confirmed cases and 280 deaths by early Thursday. Statewide, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the worst is yet to come, perhaps resulting in an astounding 40,000 people in the state needing intensive care. Just 3,000 ICU beds are currently available in the state, according to CBS News.