Give credit to Councilman Robert Holden's suggestion that New York State use the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens Village as a triage center to help deal with the coronavirus.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio should take him up on this excellent idea. This could help both New York City and neighboring Nassau County in dealing with this growing crisis.
The underutilized state-owned property has the potential to add several thousand additional beds to our existing hospital capacity. The facility in northeast Queens has significant available space and empty buildings.
We should also learn from this experience and suspend the closing or consolidation of hospitals nationwide. Why not convert underutilized hospitals to learning facilities for doctors, nurses and other hospital employees?
Use them as training facilities for volunteer ambulance, National Guard and other military medical units. Mothball unused sections so they could quickly get up and running in the case of emergencies.
Since the 1980's, I believe that the following Queens hospitals have closed. This dishonor roll includes Little Neck (1996), Holliswood (2013), St. John’s (2009), Kew Gardens General (1987), Parkway (2008), Mary Immaculate (2009) and Penninsula (2014) hospitals have all closed.
This may have been shortsighted in the long term. This lost capacity could have been helpful in dealing with today's medical emergency.