Auburn hospital adding beds, eyes more equipment as COVID-19 outbreak worsens


Auburn Community Hospital is one of many medical facilities in New York preparing for an influx of patients if, as projections suggest, the state’s coronavirus outbreak peaks within the next few weeks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed hospitals to increase the number of beds by at least 50%. Beyond the order, he’s encouraging them to double capacity to care for COVID-19 patients.

Cuomo is pushing for the expanded capacity as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases soars in New York. So far, 25,665 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Initial projections suggested that COVID-19 cases in New York would peak in late April or early May. Now, Cuomo believes it will occur in two to three weeks. He also revealed that New York could need as many as 140,000 hospital beds and 40,000 beds in intensive care units.

For Auburn and other hospitals, there’s a short period of time to prepare for more patients. “You’re talking about a very significant logistical operational movement to increase that number of hospital beds and do everything that you need to do related to the increased hospital beds,” said Cuomo, who added that availability of beds, staffing and equipment are the most important elements of the expansion.

Matthew Chadderdon, vice president of marketing and public affairs at Auburn Community Hospital, said the hospital has an internal task force that meets daily — sometimes hourly — to discuss preparations for COVID-19 cases. The hospital is working to comply with Cuomo’s order by purchasing more beds.

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