‘More help is on the way’: City sends additional personnel and supplies to Elmhurst Hospital

People wait in line to be tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while wearing protective gear outside Elmhurst Hospital Center on March 25, 2020. (REUTERS/Stefan Jeremiah)

The city launched a surge of critical supplies and resources to Elmhurst Hospital, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday.

The hospital became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic last week as 13 patients died of COVID-19 during one 24-hour period.

“Elmhurst and our NYC Health + Hospital system are at the center of this epidemic,” de Blasio said. “We’re in a state of war, but we cannot go to battle without ammunition. To those who are on the frontlines: your city is behind you, and more help is on the way.”

The city added 169 clinicians, a combination of registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and physicians, to assist Elmhurst staff. Additionally, 45 clinicians have been reassigned from outpatient to inpatient for additional reinforcements.

“The bottom line is the incredibly valiant team at Elmhurst has gone through so much in the last few weeks,” de Blasio said. “That’s an extraordinarily effective hospital. Real professionals who have found a way to keep saving so many lives while dealing with such pain at the same time and real loss. And this is why I want to see medical personnel come in, not just from New York City, but from all over the country, including those military and medical personnel. Because we have to give these extraordinary heroes a break at places like Elmhurst.”

The city has also resupplied the hospital’s number of ventilators four times in 10 days, according to officials.

“Our intensive care units are about three times as large as usual and still our staff often using new equipment, working with new colleagues who have never been in that hospital before. People are learning together. People are rising to the challenge,” NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz said. “I want to be clear that everyone who has needed a ventilator has gotten a ventilator, the people who need the protective equipment have gotten the protective equipment.”

Officials added that the city has received all 2,500 ventilators promised by the federal government and are distributing them to hospitals as needed. The city is also distributing 250,000 masks donated by the United Nations to help protect health care workers.

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