'Apocalyptic' Situation At Elmhurst Hospital; Mount Sinai Nurse Dies

Marla Diamond
March 26, 2020 - 6:31 pm

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital has died of the coronavirus, while the situation at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens is being called 'apocalyptic.' 

Assistant Nursing Manager Kias Kelly, 48, died from COVID-19 on Tuesday night at Mount Sinai West near Columbus Circle, where nurses have posted a photo wearing trash bags as protective gear.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of a beloved member of our nursing staff," Mount Sinai said in a statement. "Today, we lost another hero - a compassionate colleague, friend and selfless caregiver."

Meanwhile, at Elmhurst Hospital, 13 patients died in a 24-hour span and the facility is quickly running out of space.

"It's apocalyptic," Dr. Ashley Bray told The New York Times.

"Today is kind of getting worse and worse," she told the paper. "We had to get a refrigerator truck to store the bodies."

Elmhurst is a safety net hospital, serving low income patients who lack insurance and primary care. The medical staff is overwhelmed with critically ill patients. 

"We don't have the tools that we need in the emergency department and in the hospital to take care of them," she said.

A spokesperson for New York City Health and Hospitals says they are continuing to get supplies and medical personnel to Elmhurst, the number one priority in the public hospital system.

Councilman Francisco Moya – who was born at Elmhurst Hospital, used to work there and now represents the district it’s located in – says the illness has taken a significant toll on the hospital.

“I've talked to a lot of friends that it did work there you hear the emotion in their voice not defeated but you could tell that it is it is taking its toll on them.

The facility, according to WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond, is now running on a 125% capacity rate, compared to its usual 80% rate.

“It’s extremely alarming because we’re running out of space,” Moya said. “We need to get all of the healthcare professionals that are available to Elmhurst hospital.”

The governor has already designated essential PPE supplies to the hospital, but Moya says it won’t be enough.

“I can’t emphasize enough that we need the help from the federal government,” he said.

Calling Elmhurst Hospital "the epicenter within the epicenter," De Blasio said Thurday the city sent 40 ventilators and 56 additional staff members to deal with the challenges they're facing.


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