Within a month’s time, more than 120 COVID-19 patients have been successfully treated and discharged from St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway. The hospital has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 since early March when it confirmed the first positive case of COVID-19 in Queens.
“We work hard to ensure that we are as prepared as possible to treat each COVID-19 patient, and have made significant investments to see that our patients achieve positive health,” said Donald Morrish, MD, Chief Medical Officer. “When we are able to successfully discharge a person, it brings us great joy, and also shows that there are people who have overcome COVID-19.”
To treat COVID-19 patients efficiently, the hospital has made, and is continuing to make, substantial investments including purchasing additional beds and equipment to go from a 257-bed hospital to more than 326 beds; converting its fifth floor outpatient specialty services practice to an inpatient unit; creating several negative pressure rooms which help prevent the spread of contagious diseases through a special ventilation system; converting existing beds to intensive care units (ICU); purchasing additional beds and stretchers; and hiring more staff.
Other hospital investments include the purchase of personal protective equipment; ventilators and other essential patient care equipment; and the implementation of a new telehealth/virtual visits system which was rolled out in late March and allows patients to have a doctor appointment via a computer, phone, or tablet.
St. John's is the only hospital on the Rockaway peninsula and the closest hospital to the heavy-hit Five Towns, which is less than one-mile away, serving more than 140,000 people. According to data released by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the communities of the Rockaways are some of the hardest hit by the virus.
“Our investments are helping people heal during this pandemic, and I want to see more positive outcomes. We will spare no expense,” said Chief Executive Officer Jerry Walsh. “And, I have the utmost respect for our doctors, nurses, and entire staff who come to work each day to help those who need it most.”