As the surge in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continues to inundate hospitals in New York City -- which has quickly become the epicenter of cases in the state -- Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday during his daily briefing that former police commissioner James O'Neill will be returning to the city as COVID-19 Senior Advisor.
In his new role, O'Neill will oversee the supply and distribution of personal protective and medical equipment within all New York City hospitals.
According to the city, O'Neill will create and manage a supply inspection regime within the hospitals to ensure the rapid turnaround of new supplies, all while making sure each individual hospital is providing the needed equipment to its frontline workers.
"I’ve asked Jimmy O’Neill to develop a system for ensuring that we’ll have personnel in every hospital where they are needed, to make sure that this supply chain is seamless and constant and focused. That the supply usage is just the way it should be and any hospital that needs additional help, we’ll be able to get it to them quickly," de Blasio said, referring to O'Neill as his "senior advisor helping us wage this battle against coronavirus."
According to de Blasio, O'Neill will assemble a team with officials from City Hall and other agencies to "allow us to have a much faster, more precise communication to get people what they need, when they need it."
O'Neill, who has been working in the private sector since stepping down as commissioner late last year, said he felt compelled to help.
"It’s the responsibility of New Yorkers to do their part. I’ve always felt that way and I continue to feel that way," he said. "It’s important that we all come together as New Yorkers."
O'Neill also took the time to explained that his role was a "system of accountability" that will "make sure that we are operating efficiently."
"How could you not help this great city?" he simply asked.