NYC hospitals see surge in COVID-19 patients, more staff out sick

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ByDan Krauth via WABC logo
Thursday, January 6, 2022
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Dan Krauth reports as some NYC hospitals are experiencing a surge in COVID patients this month amid a staffing crunch.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Some New York City hospitals are experiencing a surge in COVID patients this month compared to last, and some of those hospitals have fewer staff members to treat patients.

Doctors say it is caused by the highly contagious omicron variant and a result of holiday gatherings.

Two hospitals on two different ends of the city have seen a big spike in hospital COVID admissions.

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At St. Barnabas in the Bronx, COVID patients increased from under 10 last month to about 100 this week.

"We're bearing the brunt, New York, New Jersey and the northeast in general," said Dr. Edward Telzak, of St. Barnabas Hospital. "This is another example, I think, of COVID not going away and society learning to live with the virus."

Meanwhile, at St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, COVID patients have increased from 3 to 90 in one month's time.

"We've seen a significant increase in just 30 days," said Dr. Donald Morrish, of St. John's Episcopal Hospital. "It's almost a 30 multiplier to the amount of patients we had before."

Current hospitalizations:

COVID Cases:

Dr. Morrish said most of those who need hospitalization have not been vaccinated.

"A majority of COVID positive patients here are those who are not vaccinated and have multiple co-morbidities," he said. "Such as hypertension, diabetes and pulmonary issues."

Both hospitals believe the number of COVID patients will continue to increase over the next few weeks.

"There's every expectation that over the next few weeks, two, three weeks, those numbers will increase dramatically," Dr. Telzak said.

Vaccine doses:

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While they say the omicron variant doesn't appear to be as aggressive as earlier variants due to fewer ICU patients, there are, at times, fewer workers inside hospitals to treat patients.

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At St. Barnabas, more than 250 workers are out this week with COVID. Staff members who test positive have to quarantine for at least five days.

"Everyone really plays an important role," Dr. Telzak said. "And when they're out, their stay is a little bit longer."

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