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New York City to reopen field hospital as COVID-19 cases spike

New York City to reopen field hospital as COVID-19 cases spike
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After a recent sharp increase in coronavirus cases, New York City will reopen the field hospital set up for its original wave of the virus in spring.

The Staten Island University Hospital facility, which was open from early April through late June, will begin admitting new patients this week, NBC News reported. While capacity is currently at 108 people, the hospital could hold up to 250 people if necessary.

Daily new cases in Staten Island hovered in the triple digits over the past week after frequently remaining below 20 in the summer and early fall. The state overall has also seen a sharp spike in residents hospitalized for the virus in the last month.

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New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoGovernors say no additional vaccine doses coming, despite Trump admin promise Mississippi runs out of coronavirus vaccine as state expands eligibility Cuomo announces performance initiative to revive New York's arts economy MORE (D) announced Monday that the number had more than doubled, from 1,227 on Nov. 2 to 2,724 Monday.

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, he warned, there will be a period of “37 days of socialization” in which residents are more likely to flout social distancing guidelines.

Brahim Ardolic, the hospital’s executive director, said a "breakdown in social distancing rules and mask wearing" over the past few weeks was likely to blame for the spike in cases.

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"The problem is that we went down in cases so dramatically and stayed so low for so long, there was a lull,” he told NBC News. “People lost that natural fear and concern."

The city announced last week that it will shut down schools in the country’s largest district with cases on the rise, although the city still has one of the country’s lowest rates.

As of last week, the city had a 3 percent coronavirus positivity rate, below the 5 percent maximum at which the World Health Organization has said an area can safely reopen businesses and schools.