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 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.
Most people can treat their symptoms at home with over-the-counter medicines. Try to stay away from other people so that they don't get sick too. If you feel that you need to see a doctor, visit us online for video #UrgentCare: https://t.co/YeuYshZl5b #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/5bPLuyR6Tx
— Mount Sinai Health System (@MountSinaiNYC) March 22, 2020
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.
In the richest city in the richest country in the world, this is how nurses are already being forced to protect themselves from coronavirus — with garbage bags https://t.co/FQXVVlQlTu #CoronavirusNewYork pic.twitter.com/TtD8XLzBsV
— Brian M. Rosenthal (@brianmrosenthal) March 22, 2020
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.