ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany County is experiencing record levels of hospitalizations and ICU admissions, the likes of which they haven’t seen since the outbreak began. An important partnership between Albany County and St. Peter’s Health Partners will take some of the pressure off of local hospital systems in the fight against COVID.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy held a press conference at 10 a.m. in Albany. He was joined by Dr. James Reed, President and CEO of St. Peter’s Health Partners, where they announced the partnership.
“We’re probably running between 70 to 80% of capacity in most of our hospitals right now. Some are lower and some higher,” said Dr. Reed. “And as you know, once we get to 85%, we get nervous.”
St. Peter’s Health Partners has partnered with Albany County and their rehabilitation center, Shaker Place. They’re dedicating an unutilized building to take in patients who still need care, but no longer require hospital treatment. The nursing center recently underwent renovations, and a new wing has opened that can fit 160 patients.
The new wing will be used as a back-up for COVID-19 patients who are no longer contagious, but are still testing positive. The partnership is designed to take pressure off the hospital system. McCoy assured families with loved ones at Shaker Place that this is a safe endeavor that will be staffed independently from the nursing home.
“Our tower has a separate entrance now. Our tower is separated from our current nursing home. We have two separate ventilation systems, so they’re not even tied into the new nursing home,” McCoy said.
Reed said this will not only be important for patients, but for staffing at local hospitals. The new wing at Shaker Place isn’t in use right now—as Dr. Reed says those beds aren’t needed—but that is likely to change.
“Having that backstop for us is critical, because we don’t know what that number is going to be next week or the following week. But it’s certainly going to be going up right now,” said Dr. Reed of the increasing hospitalizations due to COVID-19.
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