KEY POINTS

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City officials would be working with FEMA to have additional ambulances and personnel sent to the city
  • FEMA will be sending around 250 ambulances and 500 medical personnel to help transporting patients between facilities and responding to calls
  • The partnership comes after the USNS Comfort arrived in New York City's harbor to ease the strain on hospitals across the five boroughs

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that city officials would begin working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to bring more ambulances and medical personnel to the city to combat the rapid spread of COVID-19.

De Blasio said that the partnership will bring around 250 ambulances and nearly 500 paramedics to support New York City’s overwhelmed medical system. The support will reportedly be deployed immediately to increase transportation between medical facilities and assist the New York Fire Department in responding to calls.

“Our EMTs and paramedics are doing unbelievable work under the toughest of circumstances,” de Blasio said. “This week, I promised them help was on the way, and today it is. Our partnership with FEMA will give our first responders the help they need to continue being the heroes of our city.”

NYFD Commissioner Daniel Nigro said he was “grateful” for the aid FEMA would bring to New York City.

“Our EMTs and Paramedics are facing an unprecedented number of medical calls each day. There has never been a busier time in the history of EMS in New York City,” Nigro said. “We are very grateful for this assistance from FEMA that will make an immediate impact to the 911 system and greatly assist our men and women on the frontlines of this pandemic.”

FEMA Region II Administrator Tom Von Essen said most of the ambulances and personnel would be coming from outside New York.

The new partnership comes after the hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived around 11 a.m. Monday to treat patients suffering from illnesses and injuries other than COVID-19. This is to free up beds at overwhelmed hospitals across the city for patients suffering from coronavirus.

Additional field hospitals have been set up across the city, including at the Javits Center, to support the high number of coronavirus patients.

Volunteers set up an emergency field hospital in New York City's Central Park to help patients suffering from COVID-19 Volunteers set up an emergency field hospital in New York City's Central Park to help patients suffering from COVID-19 Photo: AFP / Bryan R. Smith