Adrian Boteanu / Sun File Photo

Cayuga Medical Center will be sending a group of nurses, doctors and hospital staff to New York City. The group will be given a "heroic" sendoff April 8th.

April 7, 2020

After Cuomo’s Plea for Help, Cayuga Medical Sends Two Buses of Clinicians to New York

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As New York City continues to face shortage of medical professionals in its fight against COVID-19, the Cayuga Health System is sending two buses full of doctors, nurses and staff to New York Presbyterian Hospital.

“They [New York Presbyterian] have seen a huge surge in patients, so this provides relief to the team that has been working non-stop,” said John Turner, vice president of public relations for Cayuga Medical Center.

New York City currently represents the global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving  local hospitals desperate for medical equipment and personnel. Although public health officials expressed hope that the rate of hospitalizations may be slowing, almost 700 New Yorkers died of the virus on Tuesday in the city’s deadliest day yet.

With a daily influx of patients overwhelming medical capacity, on March 30, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) issued a nationwide plea for healthcare professionals to aid in combating the outbreak: “Help New York. We are the ones who are hit now.”

That call for help elicited a broad response, with Cayuga Medical’s team joining thousands of other healthcare workers that have shipped off to the hard-hit city in recent days.

According to Turner, the doctors, nurses and support staff will be paid for the duration of their 30 day assignment by New York Presbyterian, which is affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine and is one of the city’s largest hospitals.

While clinicians are bringing some of their own protective gear, New York Presbyterian assured Cayuga Medical that its clinicians would be adequately protected there as well, Turner said.

The group of medical professionals will depart Ithaca on April 8, with a send-off ceremony to commence at 8:00 a.m. that will feature Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Assemblywoman Martha Lipton (D-N.Y.) and Mayor Svante Myrick ’09.


President Martha E. Pollack will also speak at the event via Zoom.

“Together with our essential workers, like police, firefighters, facilities workers, food and grocery workers and others, they deserve every support we can offer them as they help to meet the critical human needs in this crisis,” Pollack said in a Cayuga Medical press release. Cornell donated the use of two Campus-to-Campus buses that will transport the clinicians to New York City.

Both Myrick and Cayuga Medical encouraged residents to support the efforts of the medical professionals by attending the send-off ceremony, or by showing support along the bus route. For those that cannot make the event in person the event will be live-streamed on Cayuga Medical’s Facebook, according to Turner.