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Hospital beds in NYC and Long Island are dwindling as COVID cases soar

Hospital beds in New York City and Long Island are running out just as COVID cases and hospitalizations from the virus soar, presenting a worrying scenario for the healthcare system in the months ahead  

New York City’s hospital beds are more than 80 percent full, as are Long Island’s, and COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the state and the country. 

According to the state department’s figures, New York City now only has 19 percent of its beds free – around 3,800 – and Long Island only has 18 percent free. It’s unclear what that is as an exact figure. 

If either become more full and reach a capacity of 90 percent, the areas surrounding them will be shut down by Governor Cuomo to try to stop the spread of COVID. 

Every hospital in the state has been told to increase their hospital bed capacity by 25 percent now to avoid the system being overwhelmed again. 

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New York City now only has 19 percent of its total hospital bed capacity free which is around 3,000 beds. Above, COVID hospitalizations over the last nine months. They are now at 1,524  

Long Island is also seeing a spike in the number of people going into the hospital with COVID and it only has 18 percent of its beds still free

Long Island is also seeing a spike in the number of people going into the hospital with COVID and it only has 18 percent of its beds still free 

Statewide, hospitalizations are on the rise but at a much slower rate than they were at the start of the year

Statewide, hospitalizations are on the rise but at a much slower rate than they were at the start of the year 

Not all of the people going into the hospital have COVID. Across the state, 78 percent of beds are full which is around 41,340 people. Of that, 4,993 are COVID patients. 

In New York City, there are 23,000 available hospital beds. Of the 18,630 being used currently, 1,524 are COVID patients.

At the virus peak, there were 18,000 COVID patients in hospitals across the entire state including 12,184 in New York City.

The hospital system has never been overwhelmed in the way that experts feared it would en masse but certain hospitals did, like Elmhurst in Queens. 

That will not happen this time, Cuomo says, because the hospital system has now been centralized to monitor if certain areas are having a spike and to drill down on it before it happens by offering more help or shutting down the surrounding area to reduce the spread and therefore slow hospitalizations. 

Long lines form outside of the City MD facilities on Nostrand Ave in Flatbush Brooklyn NY on November 24. Covid cases are on the rise all over New York City and state

Long lines form outside of the City MD facilities on Nostrand Ave in Flatbush Brooklyn NY on November 24. Covid cases are on the rise all over New York City and state

People are also spending less time in the hospital than they were in March and April.

Then, a patient would spend 11 days in a hospital bed but now, the number is down to five or six days. 

The death rate among hospitalized patients has also dropped from 23 percent to eight percent. 

The vaccine is also now expected to be widely available across the state of New York towards the end of January for the general public. 

The first doses will start being administered to healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff next week if approved by the FDA. 

Cuomo says he expects 170,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine this weekend and will start giving them out to nursing home residents, staff and hospital workers as soon as next WEEK before the general public in February 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York state may receive 170,000 doses of Pfizer‘s vaccine this weekend and that if approved, he’ll start dishing them out to nursing home residents and healthcare workers as soon as next week. 

The vaccine has still not yet been approved by the FDA but that could come as early as tomorrow. 

Then, Cuomo’s own panel of experts will review it to ensure it is safe before rolling it out. He will then distribute the doses across the state. 

New York City will get 72,000 doses and everywhere else will get amounts that correlate to their local populations.

First in line will be nursing home residents who are considered high risk. 

New York City will receive most of the first doses. Long Island is next and it'll be sent out across the state in doses relative to the regional population

New York City will receive most of the first doses. Long Island is next and it’ll be sent out across the state in doses relative to the regional population 

Then, it will roll out across all healthcare workers and essential workers, before being made available to the general public. 

Cuomo says that will likely happen towards the end of January or the start of February – one of the most optimistic timelines so far.  

What is unclear though is whether or not there will actually be enough doses of the vaccine available to vaccinate the public then. 

This is how the vaccine will be distributed among New Yorkers once it is approved and distributed

This is how the vaccine will be distributed among New Yorkers once it is approved and distributed 

The federal government is still in negotiations with Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies in a bad dash to acquire as many doses as possible. 

In New York state, staff from CVS and Walgreens will go into nursing homes to vaccinate the staff and residents there. 

The idea is to not put too much strain on the healthcare system, Cuomo said. 

A list of where the vaccines are available will be released once they have been distributed, Cuomo said.

It’s unclear how he’s going to ensure that they go to the right places first – if the vaccines will be brought into hospitals for staff, or if staff will have to go to the site to get them.  

Vaccinating 75 percent of the country will take until at least next summer, they said. 

Pfizer’s vaccine will be reviewed by the FDA Advisory Committee on Thursday then, if approved, will be sent out across the country by the federal government. 

It is a week after the UK approved it.

On Tuesday, the first doses were issued there but on Wednesday, fears arose over how safe it was after it emerged that two healthcare workers with allergies went into anaphylactic shock after they received it. 

It’s unclear what their allergies are but British health regulators warned anyone who has ‘severe’ food or medical allergies not to get it as a precaution. 

Now, British scientists are saying that it is safe. 

Of the 20,000 people who received the vaccine in Pfizer’s trial, 137 had an allergic reaction. But 111 people who were given a placebo also had an allergic reaction. 


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