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Kaleida Health updates on COVID-19: New York mandating new surge plans for hospitals

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Sat, Mar 21st 2020 05:10 pm

From Kaleida Health:

The New York State Department of Health has instructed hospitals across the state to update their recently submitted “surge” pandemic plans. The goal is to increase hospital inpatient bed capacity by 50% to help fight the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, M.D., held a conference call Friday with dozens of hospital executives from across the state and outlined the new mandate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the new initiative during his media briefing on Saturday.

“We have taken the approach that the surge is likely coming and that a major spike in positive coronavirus cases will result in sicker patients and increased admissions across the community and our health system,” President and CEO Jody L. Lomeo said. “Having regulatory relief and clear direction from the state can only help us as we move forward.”

For Kaleida Health, increasing bed capacity by 50% could include any or all of the following:

•Re-opening beds at DeGraff Memorial Hospital.

•Additional intensive care beds at all sites (Bradford Regional Medical Center, Buffalo General Medical Center, DeGraff Memorial Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Oishei Children’s Hospital and Olean General Hospital).

•Doubling up private rooms and conversion of old hospital rooms/space.

•Utilization of ambulatory surgery space and ambulatory surgery centers.

•Redeployment of required medical equipment (ventilators, patient beds, etc.).

Lomeo said increasing bed capacity will only increase the need for additional personnel.

He added, “We are and will continue to be creative in all areas so we can maximize ancillary staff, nursing and physicians.”

State leaders have said these capacity surge plans will now include:

•Scope of practice change for physicians and all licensed personnel.

•Partnering with labor unions on establishing dedicated coronavirus care teams.

•Bringing back physicians and nurses who may have recently retired.

•Expediting graduates of health sciences, nursing and medical school programs.

Kaleida Health also released the following updates and reminders regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic:

•HOSPITALS IN NEED OF MASKS: Hospitals in Western New York are competing nationally and internationally for resources. Kaleida Health is asking for the community’s help in protecting staff in the coming weeks by donating unused masks they may have:

•Any N95 and Non-N95 mask donations will be accepted.

•N95 masks that are in high need are:

  • 3M 1860 model (size regular and small)
  • Halyard model Nos. 46767 and 46867

•To help contact the Kaleida Health Coronavirus Command Center:

•STAY HOME MESSAGE: In an effort to reinforce the message of staying home, social distancing, and only participating in small gatherings, Kaleida Health has released a public service campaign. The community’s support of these recommendations is vital to their staff’s ability to manage patient care. Watch: https://vimeo.com/399200724

•IF YOU ARE SYMPTOMATIC – As a reminder, per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Erie County Health Department (ECDOH), if you think you have been exposed to COVID‑19 and/or if you develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider for medical advice. Do not come to the emergency department or hospital.

•If you get sick with fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing:

  • First, call your health care provider and explain your symptoms
  • Avoid contact with others. Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 
  • Before seeking health care, call ahead to the facility and tell them your situation. They will give you instructions on how to access care without exposing other people to your illness.
  • For testing information, please call your health care provider. Do not call the hospital or come to the emergency department. Communications have been sent by the ECDOH to health care providers regarding testing guidelines.
  • Health care providers will need to determine whether or not the individual needs to be tested. If the health care provider approves your testing, your provider (not the individual) will contact the ECDOH.
  • Finally, the individual will be notified by the Erie County Department of Health if he or she came in contact with someone who tested positive in Erie County.

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