Within the past month, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway has successfully treated and discharged more than 120 patients with coronavirus, hospital officials said. St. John’s had the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Queens in early March.
“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,” Dr. Donald Morrish, St. John’s chief medical officer, stated in a news release “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 effectively treat people with Covid-19, officials said they are continuing to make substantial investments in the hospital ranging from buying 69 beds to increase capacity to 326 beds, transforming the 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; purchasing additional stretchers and hiring more staff.
St. John’s has also bought personal protective equipment; ventilators and other essential patient care equipment; and implemented a new telehealth/virtual visits system late last month that allows patients to speak with doctors using a computer, phone or tablet.
“Our investments are helping people heal during this pandemic, and I want to see more positive outcomes. We will spare no expense,” Jerry Walsh, the hospital’s chief executive officer stated in the same release. “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.”
St. John’s is the only hospital on the densely populated Rockaway peninsula and serves a culturally and economically diverse population of more than 140,000, and the Five Towns 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.
Local, national donations
Face shields, 6,000, were donated to the hospital from the Ford Motor Company and a Bethesda, Maryland man, whose wife is an Episcopal pastor, donated masks and goggles, said Nancy Leghart, the director of St. John’s foundation that raises money for special projects through donations. “We are getting a lot of support from the community and all over the country,” she said, “from Personal protective equipment, food and donations for the hospital. It’s wonderful outpouring.” St. John’s is listed on the national Episcopal registry.
From a woman making homemade masks that are being used for the hospital’s office staff to comfort bags for the frontline workers, Leghart said that the donations have “amazing,” including two CVS stores have donated candy and the Girl Scout gave 35 boxes of their famous cookies. The comfort bags include herbal tea, fruits, hand lotion, protein beverages and protein bars.