Released: 4/22/2020 10:42:45 AM
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) - One of the main concerns at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic was if hospitals and the local healthcare system would be able to handle the influx of patients the new Coronavirus could bring.
Now, over a month after mass closures across the state, where do hospitals stand in terms of capacity?
“From a hospital capacity standpoint, Catholic Health is in a very good position right now,” said Catholic Health CEO Mark Sullivan.
“It’s important we keep our eye on it,” Sullivan said. “It’s important to note that we see positive cases increasing… we also know we’re seeing hospitalizations increasing.”
In some cases, people in Western New York have done such a good job at social distancing and using discretion on when to go out of the home, some hospitals have become worried that people may not realize they are still open for non-Coronavirus related emergencies.
At Oishei Children’s Hospital, there are typically 120 children entering the emergency room every day. Over the last month, that number has fallen to 40 to 50 children per day.
“We want to remind everybody that the emergency room is open, we are here,” said Dr. Stephen Turkovich, Chief Medical Officer at Oishei Children’s Hospital. “We want to remind everyone not to wait too long if their children are sick."
Turkovich said that while Coronavirus does not appear to have as significant of a health impact in Children as it does in older adults, other countries have seen a rise in children mortality. That is likely linked to parents waiting too long to take their children to the emergency room because of uncertainty.
Across Western New York, hospitals have been able to keep up with the increased need for care.
“I think we’ve done a great job in Western New York… where we never got in a position where we weren’t able to take care of all the patients we needed to take care of,” said Dr. Tom Russo, Chief of Infectious Diseases at the Jacobs School of Medicine.
Both Catholic Health and Kaleida Health representatives say they have been able to keep facilities and employees from being overwhelmed.
“We did a significant amount of planning for a significant surge that would push our capacity over 100%,” Turkovich said. “We’re hopeful that we’re close to that downward slope of the curve, we’re not quite there yet.”
“Unless there’s some major shift from what we’re seeing, Catholic Health is well-positioned to continue to care for the community,” Sullivan said.
But there’s no guarantee that doesn’t change without social distancing.
“The key with all of this is, we can’t have a false sense of security,” Russo said. “We have to continue to do what we’ve been doing to keep the number of cases down.”
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