Coronavirus patients requiring medical care are surging into Long Island hospitals before the disease’s spread is expected to peak in two to three weeks, officials warned.
There were 906 COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization in Nassau County and 409 in Suffolk County, county officials said Saturday. Patients diagnosed with coronavirus whose more serious conditions required them to be admitted into intensive care units (ICU) rose to 185 in Nassau and 139 in Suffolk, officials added.
“Some of our hospital systems report several symptomatic patients coming in every hour,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran told reporters Saturday in Mineola. “One hospital network that we spoke to said there’s been a 12-fold increase in the number of patients coming in from just one week ago. And the patients that are coming in are coming in more sick than they were a week ago.”
New York State officials said of 52,318 confirmed cases statewide, 7,328 are hospitalized, 1,755 are in ICU, 2,726 have been discharged, and 728 have died. There are 110,319 cases and 1,839 deaths nationwide while globally there have been 614,884 cases, 135,671 recoveries, and 28,687 deaths. The mortality rate has proven highest among seniors and those with underlying health issues.
Long Island had 9,675 cases as of Saturday: 5,537 in Nassau and 4,138 in Suffolk. New York City had 29,766. LI also reported 72 deaths, including 35 in Nassau and 37 in Suffolk.
“Hospitalizations we’ve seen now continue to rise,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said during his daily media conference call Saturday. “This has been a trend that we’ve watched rise every day … The trajectory is clear and it is pointing us toward what we’ve been discussing and that is the surge that is coming at our health system.”
In an effort to increase the statewide hospital bed capacity from 53,000 to 140,000, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has mandated hospitals increase bed space by at least 50 percent, temporarily cancel elective surgeries to free up space, and has been working with federal agencies to erect field hospitals at Stony Brook University and SUNY College at Old Westbury, among other locations. But those two LI Locations aren’t expected to be online for another two weeks.
The governor has also been pushing to increase the state’s ICU bed capacity from 3,000 to 40,000 and with a concurrent increase in ventilators for each. The federal government has sent 4,000 ventilators so far and erected a 1,000-bed field hospital at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan that opens Monday, the same day the USS Comfort, a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship, arrives. More than 70,000 health care workers have also signed on to temporarily staff the new field hospitals.
Curran said the 11 hospitals in Nassau reported having 52 remaining ICU beds available as of Friday, but that number has likely gone down overnight as more patients came in. The county ordered 100 ventilators to help and is asking the vendor to expedite the order, which usually has a 10-day turnaround time. Bellone did not have the latest ICU bed capacity availability as of Saturday.
In response to Cuomo’s request for federal officials to sent to New York State some of the 20,000 ventilators in the national stockpile, President Donald Trump told Fox News Thursday that he thought the governor was asking for more than he needed.
“The state has no interest in inflating the number of ventilators that we actually need,” Cuomo said Saturday, emphasizing that the need was based on data analysis of the rate that the virus is spreading.
“The urgency right now is for the ventilators,” Curran said. “Our hospitals right now are saying that they’re holding on and they’re working really hard and the state is being helpful, but this is a dire situation.”
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