During the first wave of COVID-19, Kingsbrook valiantly served this area, which like many communities of color, was particularly hard-hit. Over 200 beds were constantly full to capacity with COVID patients. Multiple Kingsbrook staff members died alongside the community members who were cruelly taken by this plague.
Kingsbrook was stretched to the max and overwhelmed with need during the height of this pandemic, like other nearby hospitals. It is still one of the busiest community hospitals in Brooklyn, serving many COVID and non-COVID patients
COVID-19 has shown how unequal our healthcare system is– and how critical hospitals are to our healthcare safety net. New York State has lost approximately 20,000 hospital beds since 2000, half of those since Cuomo became Governor in 2011. This is a reason why thousands of Brooklyn residents died unnecessarily. Manhattan has 6 hospital beds per 1,000 residents. Brooklyn has 2 hospital beds per 1,000 residents.
It is beyond cruel to close a hospital in a high-need area during a pandemic– but this hospital shouldn’t be closed anyway. Kingsbrook’s community was in a healthcare crisis before the pandemic. Not only were Black neighborhoods hit harder by COVID-19, but they were already struggling with a higher burden of disease and premature death due to the effects of systemic racism.
Closing this hospital will increase already long wait times at surrounding hospitals. It will worsen the suffering in Black and immigrant working-class neighborhoods. This hospital is needed – during the pandemic and beyond. Stop the process of preparing to close the hospital.