Amid a surge in positive cases of the coronavirus due to the Omicron variant, physicians and administrators at Catholic Health’s Mercy Hospital have made a renewed push to urge residents to get their vaccinations and boosters and continue to wear masks.
As of Tuesday, Nassau County’s seven-day average positivity rate stood at 24.8 percent, among the highest of any county in the state, according to health.ny.gov. But officials at Mercy said they have been able to handle the surge in cases thanks to the advances in treatment over the past two years of dealing with Covid-19.
Catholic Health has returned close to 12,000 patients to their families during the recent surge, according to Dr. Jason Goblin, Catholic Health’s vice president and chief medical officer. “Due to our experience with Covid over the past two years, we are able to handle increases in capacity,” Goblin said. “We continue to encourage the public to get vaccinated and boosted, wear masks in public settings and continue with proper hand-washing and social distancing.”
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky and Assemblywoman Judy Griffin joined other Democratic elected officials in issuing a joint statement thanking Gov. Kathy Hochul for her stance on mask mandates, despite Republican County Executive Bruce Blakeman’s attempts to over-ride them.
“We are grateful Governor Hochul has required the simple precaution of masks in schools to keep our schools open and our kids safe,” the statement, released last Friday, reads. “At this point in the pandemic, the pediatric hospitalizations are spiking at dangerous levels, andit would be the height of irresponsibility to ignore Governor Hochul’s vital efforts to protect public health.”
In a press briefing last Friday, Hochul again noted how vital it was for people to continue wearing masks. “Those who underestimate me do so at their own peril, including the county executive of Nassau County,” the governor said. “I have the law of the state of New York behind me, and I will always exercise my authority and obligation to protect the health of the people of this state. Municipalities, such as counties, are creatures of the state. They have to follow state law.”
During the briefing, Dr. Stephen Corwin, chief executive officer of New York Presbyterian Hospital, said that the 1,200 cases in its hospital system are evenly split between unvaccinated people and those with two doses of a vaccine but no booster. Those numbers, Corwin said, are consistent across most of the state.
“It’s very, very rare to see somebody admitted who has had a booster,” Corwin said. “Patients in the [intensive-care units] continue to be mostly those who are older and unvaccinated.”
Despite the continuing pandemic, Mercy broke ground on a new Ambulatory and Family Care Center, where the focus will be primary and specialty care, on Nov. 22.
The hospital received $7.3 million in New York state funding and a $1.3 million grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for the 16,000-square-foot facility, which will offer expanded services for women and children that are now provided at Mercy. Pediatric specialists will provide services in allergy/immunology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, infectious disease, nephrology, neurology and pulmonology.
The hospital also recently expanded its telehealth services by offering maternal-fetal care to high-risk expectant mothers. Mercy has also increased health care access and offers virtual services to expectant mothers who are diagnosed with diabetes, chronic hypertension, and/or pre-eclampsia, in addition to mothers who need genetic counseling.