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Catholic Health creating COVID-19 hospital

Posted at 2:21 PM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 23:25:07-04

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Catholic Health announced Thursday it is creating a hospital dedicated solely to treating patients with COVID-19.

Plans call for making Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus on Harlem Road in Cheektowaga into a hospital that will work specifically with these patients.

“We need to act in a level of anticipation in the near future to make sure that we can care for the people in this community," said Dr. Kevin Shiley at Catholic Health.

According to state health department data, St. Joseph’s currently has 7 ICU beds. The hospital says it will add 45-50 more critical care beds. There will be more than 100 regular beds. Catholic health’s CEO Mark Sullivan says 20% of people who get Coronavirus will need to be hospitalized.

“We know that 15% of them would be a normal hospital stay and about 5% of them will need ICU care,” said Sullivan.

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, 80% of ICU beds across the state are already full.

Catholic Health said it will continue treating patients for COVID-19 at its other hospitals, but hospital officials say having a dedicated facility will minimize the risk for other patients.

They said St. Joseph’s is ideal for it’s location, and ability to get the site up and running quickly.

Catholic Health is taking other measures, including adding 170 volunteers, and canceling elective surgeries.

“For every elective surgery we were using gowns, masks, gloves, why would you do anything with the word elective in it during a crisis,” Sullivan said.

This will be a phased in approach in an attempt to create more beds for patients battling Coronavirus. Sullivan said there’s no estimate right now for what this will cost.