ALBANY — Albany Medical Center Hospital has accepted 14 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases from hard hit downstate hospitals.
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Late Tuesday, March 31 the patients were brought in and will be tested using Albany Med’s in-house testing system.
“Albany Med is the hospitals’ hospital,” said Dr. Dennis P. McKenna, whose first official day as the hospital’s president and CEO was Wednesday. “Our team is experienced in treating a broad range of conditions and regularly coordinates with community hospitals to accept patients who require a higher level of care. COVID-19 has brought a significant influx of patients to hospitals in other areas. In alignment with our mission, Albany Med believes it is our responsibility to help. Our dedicated, skillful and compassionate health care workers are prepared to do so.”
On Tuesday, he said the hospital had 476 patients, down about 200 from a normal Tuesday as elective surgeries and other noncritical care was delayed as per Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directive to increase capacity by at least 50 percent in preparation for COVID-19 patients.
Cuomo has said bringing patients to upstate hospitals was a last resort, but never ruled it out. On Wednesday, during his daily briefing, he said “this is one state, one family and we support one another.”
He also stressed the need to break down walls that have fragmented the state’s health care system in order to deal with the pandemic.
Each year, Albany Med accepts some 16,000 patients from other hospitals, or more than 40 patients a day, McKenna said.
Patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 are placed in negative pressure rooms. There are special, isolated units devoted to COVID-19 positive patients at Albany Med.
Other hospitals in upstate are also prepared to accept patients from downstate, where the majority of the state’s more than 85,000 cases are located.