Are NYC Hospitals Prepared Better for COVID-19?

December 1, 2020

New York City’s hospitals waged a high-profile struggle when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in the spring of 2020. From overcrowded facilities to shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), the challenges came fast and furious. Now, as COVID-19 cases are on the rise again, are the city’s hospital’s better prepared to handle the hardships ahead?

New York's healthcare institutions have been preparing to avoid the same chaos and loss of life, which has been partially attributed to a lack of coordination, according to the Gotham Gazette. But in many areas, hospital administrators and staff again are just trying to stay one step ahead of the virus, keep staff safe and maximize patient survival.

One big focus in recent months has been upgrading spaces and preparing surge plans for the rapid conversion of hospital units and non-clinical spaces, including offices and auditoriums, into covid ICU wards. While much of the space has reverted to its traditional use, officials have retained the knowledge to transform facilities and are building up the infrastructure to do it faster. New York City Health + Hospitals tripled ICU capacity by adding 760 ICU beds, some of which were made permanent, as was much of the digital roadmap for tracking them.

The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has been working with public and private hospitals using federal grant money to support covid response and improvements at hospitals and long-term-care facilities. Facilities are incorporating design changes to support rapid unit conversion, like negative pressure rooms, which help prevent the spread of the coronavirus through the air.


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