Coronavirus Cases Already Overwhelming Elmhurst Hospital: Source
Officials are prepping for a wave of COVID-19 cases that could overwhelm hospitals. At Elmhurst Hospital, the wave may have already arrived.
ELMHURST, QUEENS — City and state officials are scrambling to prepare for a tidal wave of COVID-19 cases that threatens to overwhelm local hospitals but, at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, that wave may have already hit the shore.
Elmhurst Hospital, which is part of the city's municipal hospital system, is already running at more than 125-percent capacity compared to its typical 80-percent capacity rate, according to a source who was briefed by a top Health + Hospitals official on the situation.
Twelve coronavirus patients died overnight Monday at Elmhurst Hospital, according to the source, who asked to remain anonymous to speak candidly about a private conversation.
2020欧洲杯赛事Health + Hospitals Deputy Press Secretary Stephanie Guzmán disputed that number and declined to share specifics about current capacity at Elmhurst Hospital for this article.
But, the next day, shortly after THE CITY also published on the situation at Elmhurst Hospital, the hospital system released an updated statement noting that 13 patients had died in a 24-hour period, which a spokesperson said is "consistent with the number of ICU patients being treated there."
"Staff are doing everything in our power to save every person who contracts COVID-19, but unfortunately this virus continues to take an especially terrible toll on the elderly and people with preexisting conditions," Guzmán, the hospital spokesperson, said.
"Elmhurst is at the center of this crisis, and it's the number one priority of our public hospital system right now," she said.
Elmhurst Hospital has added 25 staffers since Tuesday and a number of ventilators, according to City Council Member Francisco Moya, who used to work at the hospital.
Mayor Bill de Blasio first drew public attention to the situation at Elmhurst Hospital during an interview Monday on 1010 WINS, when he said the hospital "has had an extraordinary amount of activity."
"It's been very tough for Elmhurst Hospital," de Blasio said. "I want to say that the folks who work there, all the medical personnel, all the staff that work there, they've been extraordinary, keeping up with a really tough situation."
Reached for comment Tuesday, the Health + Hospitals spokesperson noted only that some locations in the city's hospital system are seeing more patients than others.
"Some hospitals are experiencing higher patient volumes than others, but the public health system is working with all local, state, and federal agencies to ensure that space and resources are strategically allocated throughout to accommodate the surge caused by COVID-19," Guzmán said in an emailed statement to Patch.
But the high-ranking Health + Hospitals official told Patch's source that Elmhurst is the municipal system's number-one priority right now and that officials are working to increase staffing at the overburdened hospital.
New Yorkers who are experiencing mild or moderate symptoms of the new coronavirus are asked to stay home and to not seek emergency care.
Queens had the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among the five boroughs as of Tuesday morning, with Brooklyn coming in a close second. There were 4,364 coronavirus cases in Queens, compared to 4,237 in Brooklyn and less than 3,000 in each of the other boroughs, city officials said Tuesday.
Yet Queens also has the least hospital beds per capita of any of the five boroughs, with just 1.66 beds per 1,000 residents compared to rates of 2.18 in Brooklyn and 5.67 in Manhattan, according to an by the Queens borough president's office.
2020欧洲杯赛事Queens has just nine hospitals, including two municipal hospitals, to serve its 2.3 million residents; Brooklyn has 15 hospitals, and Manhattan has 20.
In June 2009, shortly after the closure of the emergency rooms at St. John's Queens Hospital and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Queens, the city's then-comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., painted a dire — and eerily prescient — picture of the strain the H1N1 influenza virus was putting on Queens emergency rooms.
"With Queens as the epicenter of the illness, hospital emergency rooms in the vicinity of the closures are seeing unprecedented numbers of patients," Thompson wrote in that cited interviews with emergency room workers across Queens.
"To be sure, while the timing of the H1N1 virus itself was not foreseeable, the likelihood of some event of a similar nature causing a sudden surge in demand was both foreseeable and inevitable," Thompson wrote. "In fact, it is one of the core missions of the City and State Departments of Health, as well as other State and municipal agencies, to prepare for and respond to this type of healthcare emergency."
This story has been updated to include a new response from NYC Health + Hospitals.
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