NY Catholic hospital to become specialist COVID-19 center

Buffalo, N.Y., Mar 20, 2020 / 10:30 am (CNA).- A Catholic hospital in western New York will become the state’s first hospital entirely dedicated to treating COVID-19 patients, it announced on Thursday.

Catholic Health, a hospital network serving the western New York area, said on March 19, that the Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus in Buffalo, NY, will become a designated COVID-19 treatment center. The announcement was made on the Solemnity of St. Joseph.

There are presently over 4,000 coronavirus cases in New York state. In Erie County, where the hospital is located, there are 29 confirmed cases, and several hundred patients waiting for test results. While the majority–an estimated 80%–are likely to be mild in nature, about one-fifth of patients are expected to require hospitalization and of those, 5% could require intensive care.

Catholic Health’s President and CEO Mark Sullivan said in an article published in The Buffalo News that the St. Joseph Campus was chosen for its location, flexibility and “the ability to act expeditiously and get the site up and running.”

Sullivan said that the transition would be completed “soon.”

Prior to the announcement, Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph’s Campus was a typical hospital, and included specialized centers for wound healing and sleep health. In 2014, US News and World Report named it as one of the region’s best hospitals.

Once set up, there will be approximately 60 critical care beds for COVID-19 patients, plus about 60 additional beds for those with the virus who do not need intensive care. As part of the transition, patients who require ventilators will be grouped together to allow for more efficient treatment and consolidated use of supplies.

Sullivan said that money was not a consideration or a worry when making the decision to convert the hospital. He was quoted in The Buffalo News as saying that it was “imperative we take action” and that “we’ll figure out the cost at a later date.”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz praised Catholic Health for their quick action in creating the COVID-19 unit.

“They cut it on a dime. They got this done in a very short period of time,” said Poloncarz. On Twitter, Poloncarz said the hospital’s work was “very encouraging.”

“They have our full support, and we appreciate Catholic Health’s support,” he tweeted on Thursday.


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