After a coronavirus surge, New York Citys hospitals holding their own – and hope they have hit a plateau New YORK – Area hospitals are still consumed by efforts to treat and slow the coronavirus, but after weeks of grappling with a surge of patients – one that forced health officials to get creative by opening field facilities – the city hopes it has turned a corner . Since the pandemic began, there have been 30,903 hospitalizations for the coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon , according to numbers published by the city. A recent trickling of New patients may hint at a period of relief. “ We’re all a little bit traumatized , but we’re looking at the numbers with some cautious optimism,” Dr. Eric Wei, the chief quality officer for NYC Health + Hospitals, told USA TODAY. “ The census seems to have plateaued, if not dipped slightly, so the number of patients coming into our emergency departments, the number of COVID patients admitted both to our ICU as well as our non-ICU units is decreasing. We hope to have hit a plateau, but we don’t want to overreact. ” Coronavirus updates: Get the latest News and analysis on the US outbreak Heartbreak, prayer and mourning: US leads world in coronavirus deaths after deadliest week Social distancing until 2022? Without vaccine, treatments, Harvard researchers say its possible novel York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the number of New suspected coronavirus patients admitted to hospitals dropped to three hundred and twenty-six for Sunday, which was down 14.9 % from the previous day. Compared with Saturdays figure of 463, that update showed a decline of 29.6 %. But New hospitalizations for Monday increased slightly to three hundred and seventy . That number jumped again to 386 for Tuesday. “ This was a tough day,” de Blasio said Thursday. “ This was not what we’re looking for. But we know we ’re going to do this stage-by-stage, step-by-step. We’ll get there, and it just reminds us we have to stick to it. ” Flattening the surge across the system NYC H+H, which oversees the city ’s 11 public hospitals, was treating about 3,000 confirmed coronavirus patients, 950 of whom were on ventilators, as of Monday afternoon. By comparison, the number of both coronavirus and non-coronavirus patients was about 3,500. NYC H+H operates some of the city’s hardest-hit facilities, such as Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx and Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn. To combat the initial surge, H+H retrofitted wards that weren’t being used, such as pediatrics, with the idea to convert every unit into a potential ICU space. It built testing tents outside the facilities, so health care workers could diagnose and isolate those with suspected infections and installed tents to treat less severe patients. In the past month, Wei said H+H tripled its intensive care capacity. The system is focused on expanding ICU capacity by moving low-acuity patients – those with less severe cases – into recovery areas. The New York City emergency management office helped build a 350-bed field hospital at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the site of the U.S. Open. This week, NYC H+H expects to transfer thirty patients there; the aim is to double the number of patients by next week. NYC H+H converted a vacant space on its nursing home campus on Roosevelt Island into a 350-bed hospital and has moved almost 150 patients there. In total, Wei said, more than 700 patients have been been transferred within the system over the past three weeks. “ It’s a different flattening of the curve,” Wei said . “ It’s more flattening the surge across the system. ” I wouldnt say that the states got it wrong Some federal emergency field hospitals that have cropped up around the city are serving at well below capacity levels, in part because each facility has its own criteria on which patients it will accept from hospitals. Wei said H+H works closely with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the military and has doctors embedded with military personnel to streamline the transfer of patients. “ Everybody is trying their hardest, and it gets better and better every day,” Wei said. The Javits New York Medical Station, the field hospital constructed inside the massive Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Hudson Yards, had three hundred and forty patients as of Tuesday afternoon, Army public affairs officer Capt. Jason Elmore told USA TODAY . The facility has a maximum capacity of 2,500 hospital beds. As of Tuesday afternoon, the Javits Center hospital had treated about 700 patients since it opened March 30, Elmore said. US coronavirus map: Track coronavirus outbreaks in your state with daily updated maps, total cases and deaths Coronavirus, diabetes, obesity and other underlying conditions: Which patients are most at risk? Since the USNS Comfort started admitting patients April 1, the Navy hospital ship has treated at least one hundred and thirty patients, and at least sixty had been discharged as of Wednesday morning, according to data shared by Navy public affairs officer Lt. Marycate Walsh. Of those 130, about half of them were treated for COVID-19. The Comfort has a capacity of 1,000 patient beds; eighty of those have ICU capabilities. It features 12 operating rooms, one isolation ward and can staff up to 1,200 medical personnel. Assistant Secretary of Defense for health affairs Thomas McCaffery said last week that the Comforts original purpose was “ to be another safety valve” to handle non-COVID-19 patients . Perhaps because of the effect of stay-at-home directives in New York City – resulting in fewer trauma and emergency room visits – “the experience changed,” McCaffery said, and the decision was made to admit coronavirus patients to both the Javits Center facility and the Comfort. As beds were slow to fill, a New concern cropped up: There were suddenly several hundred military medical personnel deployed to field hospitals without patients to care for. “ What we found is, while the civilian hospitals are getting to capacity, what they really need is that extra manpower, that extra staffing, ” McCaffery said. As of April 10, almost 400 military doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists who had been staffed to work at the Javits and Comfort hospitals were transferred to New York City hospitals, and there are plans for another wave to soon be relocated. “ I wouldnt say that the states got it wrong, ” McCaffery said when asked about requests for federal help. “ I would say that the states were doing good due diligence in planning and anticipating. Rather than being in a situation where they need that capacity and its not there, Id much rather have it ready to go . And if we need to reposition it somewhere else, I think that s a far superior position to be in than not have the capacity and there be an extreme need for it. ” purify Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, will oversee any potential changes to staffing and decisions to relocate medical ships and field hospitals. “ That is all going to be reviewed and considered as part of the all-of-nation effort, where the next hot spots are, what are the priorities and what would be the priorities for our military medical capabilities,” McCaffery said. Central Park field hospital in a good place Samaritan’s Purse, the evangelical aid group run by the Rev. Franklin Graham that built the emergency field hospital in Central Park, has been treating about fifty patients at any given time, five of those in ICU beds, as of Thursday afternoon , according to figures provided to USA TODAY . The field hospital has a total capacity of 68 beds scattered among the 14 tents. Since it opened April 1, the Samaritan’s Purse facility has admitted at least one hundred and twenty-five patients; 44 had been discharged, as of Thursday morning. Because Samaritan’s Purse partners with the Mount Sinai Health System, the Central Park field hospital serves as a feeder system for Mount Sinai’s overflow. The encamped hospital that sprouted in the citys beloved urban park – on East Meadow, a patch of open grass near Fifth Avenue and 97th Street known better for weekend picnics and Frisbees slicing across sunny skies – serves as yet another reminder that New York remains the nations top hot spot. We’re in a good place right now, ” Samaritans bag nurse team leader Tim Mosher told USA TODAY on Thursday. “ Having gone past the two-week mark, we have a lot of the little bugs and process issues worked out, and the staff has settled in. Everybody is really fatigued, but the initial anxiety is down, I would say, and I think people are feeling more comfortable about treating this type of patient. But we’re still not quite used to being in Central Park. ” As of Wednesday evening, New York City had 123,146 cases – or almost 19% of all confirmed cases in the country, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. Total deaths neared 11,000 – about one-third of deaths nationwide. “ On Sunday, I called the local transport person to take a deceased person out, ” Mosher said. “ They told me it would take a while because we were pickup No. forty for the day by four o’clock that afternoon. So that tells you we’re at the top of the curve, but we’re not going down yet. His normal load is two or three stops a day, maybe.
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