More than two months after Northwell Health hospitals saw the first cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 31 days since the health system experienced the surge’s peak, New York’s largest health system crossed the threshold of 10,000 patient discharges on Friday, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of the pandemic.
“Based on the data we’ve seen, Northwell has treated more COVID-19 patients than any other health system in the nation,” said Northwell President & CEO Michael Dowling. “Our success is a reflection of the selfless work of both front line staff and behind-the-scenes innovation that has enabled us to respond to an unprecedented influx of patients.”
Northwell has cared for nearly 13,000 hospitalized patients on Long Island, in New York City and Westchester County since the outbreak began. That represents one of out of every five COVID-19 patients hospitalized in New York State – nearly double the number of the next-highest health system.
“I’m grateful to the nurses, doctors and the entire front-line staff who showed grace, poise and determination under the most extreme of circumstances,” Mr. Dowling said. “The pandemic is not yet over, but we’ve weathered the worst of it this time. Crossing the threshold of 10,000 discharges represents a positive moment in this ongoing fight.”
Watch this video of front line caregivers reading “thank you” letters from young students.
Including the nearly 13,000 hospitalized patients, Northwell has treated more than 41,000 COVID-19 patients across the health system since the start of the pandemic, including those seen in emergency departments, 52 Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care centers and physician offices.
In addition, the health system conducted about 52,000 telehealth visits from mid-March to Mid-April for patients receiving primary care and a range of other outpatient services. Telehealth represents one of the many ways Northwell moved quickly to address the needs of local communities during the height of the pandemic as hospitals and physician practices limited access to non-essential and non-emergent medical care for safety reasons.
Northwell Health Labs was one of the first private laboratories nationwide to begin manual testing in early March; its phlebotomists worked closely with the state Department of Health to open and operate the initial drive-thru testing site near New Rochelle, NY, the first coronavirus hot spot in the United States.
Northwell Labs continued to provide significant contributions to flatten the curve by ramping up coronavirus testing, introducing 3D-printed kits when supplies ran low and then adding serology testing for antibodies as a quick way to understand the spread of COVID-19 and identify potential plasma donors.
That level of innovation permeated patient care. Echo Show devices were added to COVID-19 units to monitor patients while limiting unnecessary interaction, which helped to safeguard staff and preserve personal protective equipment.
Researchers at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research launched several clinical trials and engineered ways to transform sleep apnea BiPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure) and anesthesia machines into effective ventilators in the face of a critical shortage.
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered hospitals to create more beds, Northwell hospitals added nearly 2,000 additional beds within the span of about 10 days – increasing capacity by about 50 percent. Among many assignments that it assumed at the request of the Governor, Northwell took responsibility for overseeing clinical operations at a 1,000-bed field hospital staffed by Army clinicians within the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, as well as the USNS Comfort, the 1,000-bed Navy ship that docked at Pier 90 in Manhattan.
Northwell Health is currently delivering care to 1,203 COVID-19 hospitalized patients, down 65 percent from the peak of 3,425 on April 7.
Download video and photos of Northwell’s 10,000th patient here: