Scores of people standing in line to be tested for the coronavirus Monday were seen violating “social distancing” guidelines as they huddled together in the cold rain outside Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
As many as 152 people were lined up at one point, with some so close together that their umbrellas overlapped — violating the six-foot rule advised by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cops wearing thin paper face masks kept control while a hospital worker — wearing a yellow plastic gown open in the back, a blue hairnet and a face mask behind a clear plastic face shield — questioned each person about their symptoms before directing them to a tent where the tests were administered.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told 1010 WINS on Monday morning that Elmhurst “has had an extraordinary amount of activity and that’s in part because there’s 2.3 million people in Queens and fewer hospitals proportionately.”
In Brooklyn, a Post photographer snapped pictures as the Maimonides Medical Center received a crucial supply of oxygen tanks — and as Hizzoner ramped up his dire predictions about the need for more artificial breathing machines for the most critically ill patients.
There are already at least 1,800 people hospitalized in New York City with COVID-19, according to the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. A quarter of them, at least 450, were in the ICU.
Federal officials promised City Hall on Monday afternoon they would deliver 400 badly needed respirators in short order after Hizzoner appeared on television that morning saying failure to obtain the machines could cost lives.
“If we don’t get ventilators this week, we’re going to start losing lives we could have saved,” de Blasio told CNN’s “New Day.”
Hizzoner thanked the administration for providing the devices during a late Monday press conference, calling it “a huge step forward to help us get through this week and into the next.”
But, he warned, the city would need 15,000 machines to deal with all the cases expected by the end of May.
— Additional reporting by Carl Campanile