H + H Hospitals has Prepared for a Deluge of Patients, which Hopefully, Won’t be Necessary
By Yehudit Garmaise
Mitch Katz, MD, the CEO of Health + Hospitals wants New Yorkers to know: New York City’s largest hospital system has been preparing for weeks to accommodate what may be a deluge of patients, however, he hopes and thinks that his efforts will not be necessary.
“If COVID teaches nothing, it teaches us humility, so we all are constantly looking at data,” Dr. Katz said this morning. “We could be wrong, but at this moment, it certainly looks like Omicron does not cause as severe disease as we have seen with Delta.
“One of the things that is positive is that in general, it seems that when people are in the hospital, they have shorter stays.
“They do not need as intensive treatments as what patients have needed before.”
Treatments are fewer, and hospitalization stays are shorter, not just because the Omicron variant is thought to create more mild symptoms than previous variants did, but Dr. Katz said, because “our treatments are better, more people who are hospitalized have been vaccinated, and more people have had prior exposure to the virus, so they do not get as sick.”
Dr. Katz hopes that the major factors he mentioned will continue to weaken Omicron’s grip, so that “people don’t need to stay in the hospital as long, which prevents the hospitals from being overwhelmed,” said Dr. Katz, who said he thinks a week or two will reveal “what proportion of New Yorkers who get COVID wind up sick enough to be in the hospital.”
“I can assure you that our hospitals have plans for how we will expand, if necessary,” said Dr. Katz, who said the Health + Hospitals staff worked all weekend to ensure they could accommodate a potential influx of patients, G-d forbid.
“We are doing fine right now, but if we do have to expand, I want to remind New Yorkers that when Health + Hospitals had to triple our Intensive Care Units in six weeks: we tripled them in three weeks.
“We are prepared, we know how to do this.
“If we have to do it, we will, but at least so far, it looks like it won’t be necessary to make that level of expansion.”
Credit: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office.