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Long Island Struggles To Increase Hospital Capacity As Virus Spreads

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Long Island continues to try to find ways to increase hospital capacity as the region becomes a global hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic.

Hospitals in Queens and western Nassau County are transporting hundreds of COVID-19 patients to hospital systems in Suffolk County, where the number of cases are lower – but still rising by the hundreds every day.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says they have increased the number of hospital beds and ICU beds, but more work needs to be done. 

“What we’re talking about doing in a matter of weeks is essentially creating a new hospital system on top of the existing hospital system. That’s a Herculean effort.” 

Governor Andrew Cuomo had directed hospitals to increase their capacity by 50%, with the goal of 100%.

The construction of temporary hospitals at SUNY Old Westbury and Stony Brook University is already underway. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has requested FEMA open a tent hospital with medical staffing to help overburdened hospital systems.

Read the latest on WSHU’s coronavirus coverage here.

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Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.
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