“It’s very crowded inside,” the middle-aged Hispanic man told The Post, in between coughs that sounded almost like a leaf blower.
“I left before they got to me. It’s too crowded in there. I’ll try again tomorrow.”
The man, who was wearing a surgical mask, said he had the protective gear before he went to seek treatment at the overwhelmed hospital.
But similar masks are being distributed in the waiting room — by prospective patients themselves, he said.
“They gave people masks who didn’t have them,” he said.
It’s unclear where those masks came from.
Meanwhile, an exhausted-looking EMT said the number of patients being brought to the city-run hospital — which the Health and Hospitals Corp. has called “the center of this crisis” — said emergency ambulance runs there had skyrocketed.
“The trucks are busy, yeah,” he said while looking at the ground and shaking his head.
“The call volume is almost doubled. We were getting 4,500 calls a day, now it’s a little over 7,000.”
Moments earlier, the EMT’s knees appeared to be buckling as he stood by the open passenger door of an FDNY ambulance and changed his disposable gloves.
During one especially busy period, 10 ambulances arrived at the Trauma Center entrance in little more than an hour, all carrying patients who were rushed inside.
Many were only partially clothed and appeared unconscious, including a man in his 40s whose arms repeatedly flopped off a gurney.
One ambulance from the Mount Sinai hospital network left with a different patient inside, as did a Northwell Health ambulance that dropped off a patient earlier in the day.
An answering machine for media inquires at Elmhurst was full and not accepting messages. The HHC didn’t immediately return a request for comment.