Nurses arrive from SUNY Upstate to help Long Island's COVID-19 efforts

Despite hopes that the curve is flattening in New York state COVID-19 cases, hospitals on Long Island are preparing for a potential surge in patients.
Twenty-one critical care and emergency department nurses didn't just walk in for regular shifts at Stony Brook Medicine -- they drove for hours from SUNY Upstate Medical University to help out because their hospitals aren't seeing anywhere near the same numbers.
"When you see news stories about how your co-workers are struggling elsewhere, it's really frustrating to not be able to help," says Jessica Falgiatano. "So when this option came up, it was a no-brainer for me."
The nurses will start Friday, but received a hero's welcome Thursday. Hospital officials say their arrival will allow other nurses who have been working overtime to get some much-needed time off.
"It's incredible. Our nurses are working so hard -- extra hours -- nonstop -- no time to eat or drink, so this is a fabulous happening here today," says nurse Jessie Jellen.
As of Thursday morning, there were 430 COVID-19 patients at Stony Brook, 410 at Good Samaritan Hospital, 300 at St. Francis and 288 at Southside. Hospitals across the Island saw a surge in patients and have been making accommodations to handle the numbers.
"Part of what I do every day multiple times a day is match resources to need," says Catholic Health Services Executive Vice President Dr. Patrick O'Shaugnessy. "So we'll transfer patients between the system. We'll transfer supplies between hospitals if need be."
Good Samaritan and Southside have erected tents outside of their emergency departments as a place to triage and test patients for now. But if there is another surge, the tents could be used for treatment as well.
"Our next wave of surge planning is our tents," says Donna Moravick, executive director at Southside Hospital. "We have this huge tent and we're putting in patient bays and we're looking at what kind of patients would go out to the bay area."
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