Mount Sinai and Pols Agree that Reopening Rivington House Could Alleviate Hospitals Overwhelmed by COVID-19

Posted on: March 19th, 2020 at 5:00 am by

The local grassroots organization fighting to preserve Rivington House proposes to reopen the former AIDS home to stem the oncoming onslaught of COVID-19 patients. Its standard-bearer, Kathleen Webster, wrote the following editorial.

The Governor asked for potential sites for hospital overflow related to COVID-19 patients. We asked Mount Sinai if they would offer Rivington House. Mount Sinai agreed and answered – superbly.

Yes — we are all working to help “flatten the curve” to save our health care systems, as much as possible, from the overload that is on its way.

It made me think that perhaps Rivington House could yet play one last role in its brave history as a state-of-the-art infectious disease skilled care facility – much as it did during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Others in our group thought so, too.

Could Mount Sinai, in the effort to creatively meet this current crisis in New York City and State (and the world) allow the Governor to use this building towards the united efforts to contain this virus and save lives? Cuomo is already on the lookout for a space:

We are going …to find existing facilities that could most easily be adapted to medical facilities meaning.. former nursing homes, facilities that had that basic configuration that could be retrofitted…

So I asked Jeremy Boal, the president of Mount Sinai Beth Israel and Downtown, and received positive response. His thoughts:

We absolutely agree with you and we are making sure that the city and state know about this facility and do with it whatever is best for us to all get through this. We are of one unified mind on all of this. Likewise, we are here for you and your friends and neighbors and communities and want to help in any and every way possible.

The Governor has shown real leadership to find solutions “outside of the box” – we desperately need such leadership now given the vacuum in the White House.

Councilmembers Carlina Rivera and Margaret Chin are both in full support and have reached out to the mayor’s office about this site. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer forwarded the request to the Department of Health and said there is a website to send offers.

It’s good to know, especially now, that everyone is on the same page. Offers being made, everyone thinking together. That’s how we will do this.

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