Glens Falls, Saratoga hospitals treating New York City coronavirus patients

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(NEWS10) – Glens Falls Hospital and Saratoga Hospital both confirmed this week that they had begun treating COVID-19 patients from New York City, in order to alleviate the strain on crowded hospitals downstate. Glens Falls Hospital has accepted two patients, and Saratoga Hospital has taken five.

In a statement from Peter Hopper, Saratoga Hospital’s director of marketing and communications, available capacity was a factor, once which could be used quickly to relieve downstate hospitals. Capacity and resources available can vary wildly day to day, or even more quickly.

Of the five patients at Saratoga Hospital, two had been discharged as of Friday.

At Glens Falls Hospital, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Howard Fritz said that while their hospital could take critical patients, moving them would be much harder than moving noncritical ones. It’s harder for a patient to be transported if they are already hooked up to a ventilator, and those patients are critically ill enough that moving them could cause harm.

“Identifying that particular ventilated patient who is critical but stable enough to transport is challenging, but when it does occur it may provide benefit to the downstate hospital who now has another Intensive Care Unit room available for someone even sicker to be cared for,” Fritz wrote.

The patients at Glens Falls Hospital were transported by ambulance, although the hospital is equipped with a helipad, should the need arise.

The hospital had already been accepting transfer patients from other hospitals before the coronavirus pandemic, meaning staff was already equipped for adapting to cases coming in from the outside.

Both hospitals emphasized that communication within the state medical community was ongoing in light of the pandemic.

“Collectively, all of the greater Capital Region hospitals are committed to helping downstate needs, when and if requested, all dependent upon projected capacity and resources at each hospital,” Hopper wrote.

” I speak with colleagues at 11 regional hospitals twice each day so that we can coordinate this and many other aspects of our response to the pandemic,” Fritz wrote.

Albany Medical Center, St. Peter’s Hospital and Ellis Hospital have also received patients.

“Glens Falls Hospital remains committed to doing our part to care for the sick and to end this pandemic — that includes sharing the burden of patient care for the hardest hit areas,” Fritz wrote. “We are all New Yorkers. We are all Americans. This is our mission, and our Hospital team is  proud to step up and help.”

New York City has been the epicenter of the spread of coronavirus, with more than 161,807 confirmed cases as of Friday morning.

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