Hospital Numbers Down As Coronavirus Spread Eases - 27 East

Hospital Numbers Down As Coronavirus Spread Eases

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The mobile testing site in Southampton Village.  DANA SHAW

The mobile testing site in Southampton Village. DANA SHAW

The mobile testing site in Southampton Village.  DANA SHAW

The mobile testing site in Southampton Village. DANA SHAW

The mobile testing site in Southampton Village.  DANA SHAW

The mobile testing site in Southampton Village. DANA SHAW

authorMichael Wright on May 21, 2020

Southampton Hospital is down to just 15 total COVID-19 patients admitted to its coronavirus isolation unit — from a high of more than 50 in April — and only two in its intensive care unit, as the number of new cases being identified locally has dropped significantly.

Hospital officials have also warned against those with other health concerns avoiding seeking medical aid at the hospital because of worries over the coronavirus.

Just three new cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed through testing in East Hampton Town since May 14, and 47 in Southampton Town. East Hampton has now had 272 total confirmed cases and Southampton has had 986.

The spread of the virus in local nursing homes also seems to have waned.

The Westhampton Care Center did report one additional death of a resident from the disease this week — bringing the total at the facility to 14 — and several new confirmed infections among its residents, including in a wing of the facility that had not previously had infections.

As of May 18, the Hamptons Center had reported no new deaths to the state since early this month. The center has reported 19 deaths of patients, 14 of them unconfirmed but suspected to be COVID-19 related.

The Hamptons Center told families over the weekend that the total number of COVID-19 residents in the facility was now 26 — a number the facility says includes cases of patients who were transferred to the facility from local hospitals already having tested positive for the coronavirus — and reported that several patients who had previously tested positive have not recovered from the COVID-19 disease and tested negative for the virus.

The Press asked Stony Brook Medicine this week for an accounting of the number of patients released by Southampton Hospital to local nursing homes with confirmed coronavirus infections. A spokesperson for the hospital said that she has not been given permission to release the statistic by the university.

Total hospitalizations of COVID-19 cases countywide fell by more than 100 over the last seven days, though there was an increase of 10 new hospitalizations on May 13.

The hospital remains at a greatly swollen bed capacity of 184, up from the previous 94, and 21 intensive care beds, up from seven before the coronavirus response. To date, the hospital has not decommissioned any of the new beds it set up in response the outbreak.

Administrators this week implored people with other health issues not to avoid seeking medical advice because of fears about contracting a coronavirus infection at the hospital — a problem that medical professionals have said has been pervasive during the outbreak, leading to many more serious complications.

“There has been no known case of a patient contracting COVID-19 while visiting the hospital,” SBSH’s top administrators said in a written statement on Friday. “The hospital is a safe and highly sanitized environment with a rigorous disinfecting protocol deployed by the environmental services team who is trained to apply advanced technologies, including UV-C lights and EPA approved disinfectants.”

Southampton Hospital has dialed back its coronavirus precautions in the last week. The triage tents that had been set up outside the emergency department have been taken down and triage is now being done inside the emergency room entrance.

The special COVID-19 treatment area in Parrish Memorial Hall has been dismantled. The hospital is still not putting the wing back into other uses, however, and is being held in reserve for a potential new surge in patients. The hospital never pushed its new capacity, but administrators said that it also had the ability to expand even further had the need arisen, or should it in the future.

“Since the Stay-At-Home Order went into effect, some patients originally scheduled for low acuity surgeries [could] be experiencing a worsening of symptoms that may lead to future morbidity or serious long-term complications that can negatively impact quality of life,” the hospital’s chief administrator Bob Chaloner and head of medicine, Dr. Fredric Weinbaum, said in their joint statement on Friday. “It is important that patients remain in contact with their surgeon to review if surgery is now required.”

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