Coronavirus crisis escalates at Long Island hospitals

With capacity already stretched thin, hospitals across Long Island are rushing to find beds and equipment as the surge of COVID-19 patients continues. 

"We're holding our heads above water but we're treading very hard," Dr. Aaron Glatt, the chairman of the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai South Nassau, told FOX 5 NY. "Right now, we have a hospital that's an ICU." 

As of Friday morning, Mount Sinai South Nassau had 83 patients on ventilators. Triage tents are in the parking lot to separate and screen suspected COVID patients.

Glatt said this is the most catastrophic crisis he has faced in his 37-year career. 

"We had a 42-year-old person, a young father of a whole bunch of kids, and a young widow unfortunately passed away," he said. "I was with the family. This is just tragic. I don't have words for it."

Glatt said he credits the entire hospital staff for helping battle this pandemic.

"The respiratory therapist, nurses, the physicians, the ones cleaning the rooms, procuring the equipment, making sure we're getting fed," he said.

With the number of positive coronavirus cases well over 22,000 on Long Island, some health-care workers are doing double shifts, others haven't had a day off in weeks, and even when they are home many tell me they're still worried about everyone at the hospital. 

Dr. Fred Davis always deals with sick people but the associate chair of the emergency department at Long Island Jewish Medical Center said how sick people really are is the biggest difference. As of Friday morning, LIJ had 755 suspected or confirmed COVID patients, 97 of them on ventilators. Doctors are learning COVID-19 doesn't discriminate. 

"Why we talk about age groups, it could be any age group that doesn't do well with this," Davis said.

Doctors say everyone needs to practice social distancing right now.

"The only way we will stop this and this is the single most important mention is if everybody takes this seriously," Glatt said.


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