US hospitals rush to find beds for swell of pathogen patients


SEATTLE (AP) — With her due date quick approaching, Kelly McCarty packaged a bag with nursing tops, a robe, slippers and granola bars. Last week’s ultrasound, she said, showed “this baby is conduct down and prepared to go.”

But a new coronavirus has thrown her a curveball, bouncing her and about 140 other trusting moms from their first-choice sanatorium to another 30 mins away. The birth section during a Edmonds, Washington, sanatorium is indispensable for COVID-19.

With ability stretched thin, U.S. hospitals are rushing to find beds for a entrance inundate of patients, opening comparison sealed hospitals, branch singular bedrooms into doubles and re-purposing other medical buildings.

Louisiana is creation deals with hotels to yield additional sanatorium beds and has converted 3 state parks into siege sites for patients who can’t go home. Illinois is reopening a 314-bed suburban Chicago sanatorium that sealed in September. In Seattle, Harborview Medical Center is branch a homeless preserve into a 45-bed coronavirus liberation center.

In New York, a city’s gathering core is being incited into a proxy hospital. At Mount Sinai Morningside hospital, heart surgeons, cardiologists and cardiovascular nurses now caring for coronavirus patients in a converted cardiac unit. Floating hospitals from a U.S. Navy are streamer to Los Angeles and, eventually, New York. Military mobile hospitals are betrothed to Washington state. Arizona officials are saying if sealed hospitals could be reopened.

Simple math is spurring a preparation. With sum U.S. cases doubling each 3 days, dull complete caring section beds, indispensable by an estimated 5% of a sick, will fast fill.

U.S. hospitals reported handling 74,000 ICU beds in 2018, with 64% filled by patients on a standard day. But accessible ICU beds are not uniformly distributed, according to an Associated Press research of sovereign information on hospitals that supposing a cost news to Medicare in mercantile year 2018.

The AP found some-more than 7 million people age 60 and comparison — those many during risk of serious COVID-19 illness — live in counties though ICU beds. AP enclosed ICU beds in coronary units, surgical units and bake units in a count.

“Better to be over-prepared than conflict in a moment,” pronounced Melissa Short, who leads women’s health for Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center, that is regulating information from China and Italy as it attempts to double a ability to 2,000 beds.

In South Korea, some died during home watchful for a sanatorium bed. In northern Italy, an blast of cases swamped a sanatorium system. Video and photos from dual Spanish hospitals showed patients, many bending to oxygen tanks, crowding corridors and puncture rooms.

About 10 days ago, Dr. Tanya Sorensen got a call from a alloy heading a response to a pathogen during Washington state’s Swedish Medical Center. How could a complement connect a birth services to keep healthy delivering moms divided from a sick?

“It took me aback,” pronounced Sorensen, medical executive for a sanatorium system’s women’s services. “It brought home a fact that we are going to be confronting a outrageous swell of cases of COVID really soon.”

Swedish’s Edmonds trickery — where McCarty had designed to broach — announced Saturday it is shutting a 7th building birth core temporarily, gaining 35 beds for a approaching influx. McCarty will go instead to an dependent sanatorium in Everett.

“They need some-more beds. If they can open adult a whole floor, we understand,” pronounced McCarty, a open propagandize clergyman who is bustling coaching colleagues about online training during a state’s lockdown.

For many people, a coronavirus causes amiable or assuage symptoms, such as heat and cough that transparent adult in dual to 3 weeks. For some, generally comparison adults and people with existent health problems, it can means some-more serious illness, including pneumonia, and death.

If other countries have a same knowledge as China, 15% to 20% of COVID-19 patients will have serious illness. About 5% could turn ill adequate to need complete care.

Equipment is a challenge. About 20% of U.S. hospitals pronounced they didn’t have adequate respirating machines for patients and 97% were reusing or differently conserving N95 masks, according to a consult conducted final week by sanatorium organisation purchasing classification Premier.

Who will staff a indispensable ICU beds is gripping U.S. sanatorium leaders watchful during night.

In western Massachusetts, Nancy Shendell-Falik, a helper incited sanatorium executive, is formulation Baystate Health’s response. The system’s village hospitals and flagship sanatorium in Springfield are anticipating space for 500 additional beds, including 140 ICU beds.

She asks herself: Will cross-training staff and operative in teams assistance a ICU nurses hoop a swell of patients wanting respirating machines? Will there be adequate masks, gowns and face shields? She also worries about exhaustion, burnout and nurses descending sick.

“Beds don’t take caring of patients. We need a staff to do so,” she said.

During 9/11, she worked as a arch helper during a sanatorium 8 miles from a twin towers. She also worked during a Boston sanatorium that took in casualties of a 2013 marathon bombing.

“Those things altered a universe forever, though they were really time-limited activities. What’s frightful about this,” she said, is “we don’t know a duration.”

This weekend, McCarty and her father devise to expostulate to a Everett hospital, a hearing run for when she goes into labor. When her contractions start, they’ll call her father to come stay with their 4-year-old daughter. McCarty is holding it in stride, meaningful a abyss of a need.

“If it was my initial child, we consider it would be a small harder,” McCarty pronounced of adjusting her birth devise for COVID-19. “I know what it’s like and I’ve been by it before. Where we broach isn’t indispensably that large of a deal. I’m happy to oblige.”


Forster, an AP information journalist, reported from New York. AP reporters Kathleen Foody in Chicago, Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge and Linda A. Johnson in Trenton, New Jersey contributed.


The Associated Press receives support for health and scholarship coverage from a Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is only obliged for all content.

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