MVHS braces for surge in downstate coronavirus patients

MVHS officials on Tuesday had a conversation with Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, which highlighted the magnitude of the potential threat of the coronavirus.

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 5:36 PM
Updated: Mar 25, 2020 9:16 PM

UTICA, N.Y. -- MVHS officials on Tuesday had a conversation with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and State Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, which highlighted the magnitude of the potential threat of the coronavirus.

"It was a very sobering conversation. The number of positive covid 19 patients doubles in New York almost every three days," said MVHS President & CEO, Darlene Stromstad.

MVHS is making sweeping and drastic changes to accomodate an anticipated surge of sick coronavirus patients from downstate. The governor has required all hospitals to increase bed capacity by at least 50% and ideally, 100%. MVHS officials say they can hit 100% at St. Luke's in about nine weeks, going from 173 beds to 346.

"We have already ordered, I think, 270 beds, working with the Mohawk Valley Hospital Supply Co. to expedite delivery of these beds. We are taking rooms that have mothballed for years or used as offices to transition them to patient rooms," says Stromstad, adding that they've also moved some of their own patients to accomodate anticipated coronavirus patients.

"We have also closed down our inpatient pediatric unit because we are going to be using that space for our surge plan," said Stromstad. "We had very few pediatric patients. Very few. So for the time being we are gonna turn those into adult beds and children will go to Syracuse."

Stromstad says the coronavirus patients won't be in one hospital in particular. She doesn't know when the patients will come, or in what order hospitals outside NYC will get them.

"It possible they'll send some to Albany before us, and then their capacity increases, they'll send more, ours increases, they'll give us more but we really don't know. We just have to be prepared."

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