Nurses from downstate headed to western NY amid COVID surge

Nurses employed by Long Island-based Northwell Health have been sent to western New York to help at two hospitals dealing with a surge in coronavirus infections, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Saturday.

The 16 clinical professionals and two team leads are from the downstate region including the New York City and Long Island areas. They include intensive care, emergency and medical-surgical nurses. They were sent to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo and the University of Rochester’s Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for two weeks, the governor said in a statement.

Tom Quatroche, CEO of Erie County Medical Center, said the nurses arrive as the 573-bed hospital deals with extremely high patient volumes and staffing shortages.

Northwell officials noted they received help from other health systems when New York City and Long Island were overrun with virus cases early in the pandemic.

"We offered to send nurses there after hearing about a staffing crunch in the region and seeing COVID-19 cases peaking there," said Northwell President and CEO Michael Dowling. "We remember when the pandemic hit us hardest and we were at our worst."

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