LI hospitals announce policy changes as COVID hospitalizations in NY hit highest levels since May 2020
The number of people in the hospital with COVID-19 across New York are at their highest level since May 2020.
Hospitals like Nassau University Medical Center are starting to implement new policies to ensure there is enough space for patients.
The sharp increase is a troubling trend across Long Island, but the severity of cases is not the same for everyone.
At the East Meadow hospital, 60% of the people hospitalized with COVID were there for treatment of the actual virus while 40% were admitted for something else and then wound up testing positive.
Still, the record-breaking number of people being infected is making things more difficult.
Dr. Grace Ting of Nassau University Medical Center says the facility has a total of 64 ICU beds, but only one was available as of Tuesday evening.
"Because of the sheer volume of patients that are testing positive, you still have the rise of people who are severely ill," Ting says.
On Christmas Eve, there were 793 COVID hospitalizations across Long Island, but by Monday there were 1,833.
The chief medical officer of St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown announced a policy change aimed at freeing up beds, writing in a memo to staff Tuesday that said, "St. Catherine of Siena Hospital is under siege with another COVID-19 surge. We are currently challenged with extremely high volumes in our emergency department, in our intensive care units and throughout the hospital."
The statement went on to say that "For cases involving stable patients that do not require in-patient level of care, we ask that you continue any other work ups or testing possible as an outpatient."
The same policy went into effect Tuesday at Nassau University Medical Center.
They are working to increase the size of the hospital's intensive care unit.
"We do have capacity for additional isolation rooms and ICU beds, right now we're working on the staffing," Ting says.
Hospital officials say the majority of the patients suffering from real COVID complications are not vaccinated.