New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday, March 22 (watch the video below) that the Army Corps of Engineers will construct temporary hospitals for COVID-19 patients at four sites in New York, which he had identified the previous day: the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan; the campuses of SUNY Stony Brook (watch a time-lapse construction video below) and SUNY Old Westbury on Long Island; and the Westchester Convention Center, north of New York City. Cuomo called these temporary facilities "helpful," but noted that "they don't bring supplies and they don't bring staff."

The Javits Center, photo © Ajay Suresh

The Javits Center on the west side of Manhattan will also host four 250-bed FEMA field hospitals, which do come with medical staff and equipment. Designed by architect James Ingo Freed of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the 1.6 million-square-foot, glazed, space-framed structure was completed in 1986, and in 2017, a 1.2 million-square-foot expansion project broke ground.

The four new temporary medical facilities will provide "regional coverage in downstate New York," said Cuomo, "which is our most heavily impacted area." As of Monday morning, March 23, there were 20,875 confirmed cases in the state; more than 12,000 of those cases are in New York City.