Big Apple hospitals will receive nearly $ 140 million in funding as they grapple with an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to the highly contagious variant of Omicron, officials said on Wednesday.
The city’s public hospital system, NYC Health + Hospitals, will receive an additional $ 111 million in support from city hall, and smaller private hospitals will benefit from $ 27 million loans from Goldman Sachs.
“Our hospitals are currently under some pressure, made worse by staff cutbacks due to COVID infections linked to Omicron,” Dave Chokshi, the city’s health commissioner, said at a press conference at the Elmhurst Hospital, which was hit hard during the first days of the pandemic last spring.
“Cases are increasing and hospitalizations are increasing, I expect this to continue in the short term.”
The $ 111 million funding for H + H will be used to hire more nurses and support staff, and loans for private hospitals will give them the cash they need to stay afloat in the midst of the wave. The loan repayment terms were not immediately specified, but the funds could be repaid by FEMA down the line.
Hospitalization rates for COVID-19 in the five boroughs are the highest since May 2020 and are up more than 50% this week compared to the same period in 2021, when the vaccine was just starting to be distributed. according to state data.
Across the city, hospital beds are about 75 to 80 percent full, and a peak in cases is not expected for two to three weeks, Chokshi said.
“What we’re looking for is a deceleration in the growth rate… we don’t see it yet,” Chokshi said.
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“We have seen a stabilization of this in recent days, it is a bit too early to say if this is simply due to the holiday test models or a real stabilization.”
When asked if the hospitalization figures were misleading and if they include people who have been hospitalized for other reasons, and who have also tested positive for COVID-19, Chokshi replied, “The answer short is no. ”
“I don’t think we scare New Yorkers off by what we convey. We need to look at all the data together. We have seen a sharp increase in hospitalizations for COVID, ”he said.
Nationally, hospital admissions are down 50% from last year’s outbreak, even as new coronavirus cases have tripled in recent weeks, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.