Mt. Sinai Setting Up Outdoor Tents to Extend Emergency Departments; Hopeful Comments on Supplies


The staff at Mt. Sinai Morningside Heights, with an important message.

Mt. Sinai, the hospital chain that operates the closest major hospitals to the Upper West Side, is setting up tents outside of its hospitals on West 59th and West 114th Streets to prepare for an influx of patients expected to go to the hospital to be treated for Covid-19.

The tents are “an extension of the emergency department,” a spokesperson wrote to West Side Rag in response to questions. “They are not a location for testing. They are for patients who require emergency care. If once seen a patient requires admission, they will be admitted to the hospital as an inpatient.”

The hospital’s capacity is okay but Mt. Sinai does anticipate a further influx of patients.

She elaborated on why they are going up.

“Mount Sinai Health System is taking extra precautions to provide the safest environment possible and protect our patients, staff and visitors due to the escalating COVID-19 emergency. As the growing COVID-19 crisis unfolds, we are taking extraordinary measures to protect and serve our communities, including erecting triage tents outside of emergency departments throughout our eight (8) hospital system to expand emergency department services. The tents will be critical in helping us limit the spread of the disease between patients and staff. These steps, along with other efforts including instituting strict visitor restrictions, banning staff travel and broadening access to virtual care options through video visits with emergency medicine physicians are important steps to ensure the health of all of our patients, staff and local communities. Seven hospitals within the System will be adding tents, starting with Mount Sinai Brooklyn. We are working diligently to protect and care for the communities we serve, and respond quickly to this evolving public health crisis.”


The beginnings of the temporary tent at 113th and Amsterdam. Photo by Tiffany.

The hospital does not want everyone who is feeling the symptoms associated with the disease to come to the hospital. Most people will be able to deal with the symptoms — which include a cough, fever and possibly shortness of breath — at home, using Tylenol and resting. Those who feel their symptoms are getting worse should contact their doctor or use virtual care services (telehealth) to learn if they need more treatment and should go to the hospital. Going to the emergency room for non-emergency needs may only add congestion and potentially even expose you to diseases. Mt. Sinai explains more about what to do if you feel ill here.

Political leaders have raised alarms about the lack of hospital beds, ventilators, masks for doctors and nurses, and other key supplies for hospitals. The mayor and governor have called on the federal government to send more supplies within the next week. It’s a grave situation that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

For Mt. Sinai as of this weekend, supply levels were adequate, according to the corporate twitter account. “Mount Sinai Health System is taking every and all precautions to protect our staff and our patients. Currently, we have sufficient supplies on hand,” the hospital system said on twitter in response to another person saying they were out of some protective equipment. “We are securing additional protective equipment, which is of critical importance, and continue to follow all guidance according to the CDC and city and state as it relates to masks and all other protective material.”

But in general New York is hurting from a lack of supplies right now.

All hospitals in New York will need more masks and protective equipment in the coming weeks and anyone who knows how to get these to doctors should call the governor’s hotline at 646-522-8477 or email it at COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov.

The map below shows the Mt. Sinai hospitals on the West side as an H outlined in yellow. The red dots are medical offices, not hospitals. There’s another hospital on 100th Street and 5th Avenue across the park.

NEWS | 6 comments | permalink
    1. MB/UWSer says:

      THANK YOU to all the helpers at Mount Sinai. I consider you all to be helpers, before the title worker. And thank you for choosing a position in the Helpful Profession.

      May the good force be with you and all during this time.

    2. Irena says:

      As of last week, all of the red dots (doctor offices) were closed through April. Had an appointment that took me seventh months to get cancelled with no way to reschedule.

      Can’t even imagine getting an appointment now that they will be closed for so many weeks with patient backup.

    3. Irena says:

      If anyone should get money now from the government, it is the healthcare workers and medical professionals. Home health aides make so little money and so many are totally dependent on them for their daily health and well-being. Provide them with needed preventive gear.

      And the doctors, nurses, and all the other medical workers: Send them the money. I’d happily give my share towards a super fund for them because you know that they are going to get sick and need help financially.

      Anyone out there risking their own health no matter what they do, give them the money first!

      So many people we don’t hear about (truck drivers!) working daily to ensure the rest of us have food, etc.

      It is heartening in the middle of all this chaos to see the level of commitment that is made by so many people. Thank you!

    4. ER Nurse says:

      I work in the ER at Mount Sinai. We do not have enough supplies and those nurses wearing trash bags are from Mount Sinai West.

    5. Ed says:

      These folks are awesome but they have a tough road ahead, triaging who will live or die, lacking the 16,000 ventilator purchase that Cuomo nixed in 2015. Instead of buying ventilators, his official protocol is to color us red, green or blue. Blue? No ventilator for you! Heckuva job, Andrew.