NYC Public Hospital System Braces for Coronavirus Surge, Suspends Elective Surgeries

NEW YORK -
Mayor Bill de Blasio [not seen] holds a media availability with CEO Dr. Mitchell Katz, NYC Health + Hospitals. (Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

The New York City Heath + Hospitals system has suspended elective surgeries as of December 15th in anticipation of a surge of coronavirus cases, the New York Post reported.

During Mayor Bill de Blasio’s December 15th press conference, Dr. Mitchell Katz, the CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, said that the hospital system made the decision to keep as many beds open as possible, rather than risk being overwhelmed with patients.

The decision came as coronavirus rates climb in all five boroughs, and both de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo have warned stricter shutdown measures may be necessary if the surge does not abate.

“We have made it clear that the only surgeries that we will be doing are those surgeries that are a result of emergencies, such as car accidents or surgeries in which a patient’s health is directly affected,” said Dr. Katz. “So we are doing the necessary surgeries and the emergency surgeries,” he explained, “but we have, consistent with the governor’s request, canceled elective procedures.”

In order to prevent a situation similar to what happened in the spring, when some hospitals were overwhelmed while some nearby had empty beds, Cuomo has order the hospital system to prepare a system of transferring between hospitals to lighten and evenly balance the load.

The city is now averaging more than 2,700 new cases every day, officials warned.

The seven-day rolling average has been hovering at 5%.

At his press conferences, de Blasio has been warning that the city and state government may decided to reimplement strict lockdown measures by the end of December or early January.

“I’ve been talking to our health care team throughout. Everyone’s very concerned about the increase in the number of cases, we report it to every single day, very openly. The number of cases is too high. The infection levels, too high. The number of hospitalizations is too high and unfortunately it’s just growing,” the mayor said on December 17th.

“I don’t like restrictions. None of us likes restrictions, but I think we need them sooner rather than later … and certainly right now [December 26th] is a natural moment when the world kind of slows down a little bit. But we’ll keep having that conversation with the state to figure out exactly how they want to proceed.”

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