NewYork-Presbyterian Queens transforms cafeteria into extra room for patients

NYPQ After1
Photo courtesy of NewYork-Presbyterian Queens.

To meet the demand of incoming COVID-19 patients, NewYork-Presyterian Queens opened a new patient room in the Flushing hospital’s former cafeteria.

Known as the “Café” unit, the new room is equipped with 20 patient beds and is fully function to treat people admitted to the hospital with the coronavirus. Because the cafeteria was not being used in it’s usual capacity – to promote social distancing, staff could not dine in – the hospital had the opportunity to give the open space a purpose.

“We had a large space that not being used,” said Jaclyn Mucaria, the president of NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. “It is truly remarkable, many teams collaborated together over a two week timeframe to get this unit ready for patient care.”

Pods of patient beds, each its own private space, line the perimeter of the former dining area, a nurses station sits in the middle and a newly built wall allows for staff of the hospital to continue to purchase food without coming into contact with patients.

The “Café” unit is equipped with vents to send air outside and not into other rooms in the hospital. According to the hospital, this negative room pressure is “an isolation technique used in hospitals to prevent cross-contamination from room to room.”

Staff gathered earlier this week to celebrate the opening of the new unit.


The opening of the cafeteria unit was not the only thing worth celebrating this past week at the hospital. Staff also joined together to sing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing'” as two COVID-19 patients were discharged from the hospital, a practice that’s become tradition.


More from Around New York