BY CLAUDE SOLNIK
Amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis as officials and individuals grapple with consequences and concerns and push for progress, Northwell Health announced a hopeful number, recently discharging its 10,000th coronavirus patient.
The New Hyde Park-based hospital system discharged the patient with a celebration, amid masked healthcare workers holding signs with rainbows and messages. One sign said “We Luv U” and another said “Here comes the sun” near a picture of the sun and a rainbow sharing one space, as healthcare workers showed appreciation to patients for their struggle — even as many others show support for healthcare workers.
“Based on the data we’ve seen, Northwell has treated more COVID-19 patients than any other health system in the nation,” Northwell President CEO Michael Dowling said in a written statement. “Crossing the threshold of 10,000 discharges represents a positive moment in this ongoing fight.”
The celebration was reassuring at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt. Kisco, one of 23 run by Northwell, mixing relief, a sense of rebirth, and a reminder that, amid tragedy and loss, there are triumphs as well. And it was an opportunity to celebrate success and reinvigorate healthcare staff as well as celebrate an individual patient’s journey out of the hospital.
Northwell has cared for nearly 13,000 patients on Long Island, in New York City, and Westchester, nearly 20 percent of all COVID-19 patients hospitalized in New York state, according to the system.
And it has treated more than 41,000 COVID-19 patients including those seen in emergency departments, 52 Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care centers and physician offices. The healthcare system conducted about 52,000 telehealth visits as the Food and Drug Administration loosened regulations, allowing telemedicine to become a key tool amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Northwell hospitals added nearly 2,000 additional beds in less than two weeks after Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for hospitals to expand, increasing its hospital capacity by about 50 percent.
The system also oversaw clinical operations at the 1,000-bed field hospital staffed by Army clinicians at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan and the 1,000-bed USNS Comfort Navy hospital ship that docked at Pier 90 in Manhattan.
While this ritual marked a hopeful milestone, the battle and the struggles continue for many patients and healthcare providers.
Northwell Health at the time of the release of the 10,000th patient a few days ago was providing care for 1,203 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, a still large number, but down 65 percent from the peak of 3,425 on April 7.
Northwell Health is the state’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, nearly 800 outpatient facilities and more than 14,200 affiliated physicians.
The system cares for more than 2 million people annually and employs 72,000, including more than 17,000 nurses and 4,500 physicians.
This story first appeared on longislandpress.com.