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UPMC Prepared To Expand Its Capacity

UPMC Chautauqua is prepared to meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to increase capacity by 50%, if needed.

On Monday, Cuomo discussed the order during his daily news conference on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Following the order, The Post-Journal asked Brian Durniok, UPMC Chautauqua president, if the Jamestown hospital was prepared to meet the governor’s order.

“We actually started working on a surge plan last week in the event that the COVID-19 virus did spread in a dramatic fashion,” Durniok said. “Typically, our normal capacity is around 140 (patient beds). If we tried to be aggressive, we would have the physical space for 80 (additional) beds.”

Durniok said one reason why UPMC Chautauqua would be able to expand its capacity is because of another request by Cuomo, who asked hospitals to cease nonessential elective surgeries.

“With us doing less surgeries, it’s freed up hospital beds to utilize in the ambulatory area or post-surgical area,” he said. “It also allows us to use nurses in that work to potentially help with those patients.”

Durniok was asked if he was concerned about the hospital running short on supplies if there was a significant increase in the number of patients.

“One advantage of being with a big health organization like UPMC is we have an incredible depth of resources,” he said. “Our system is actively working on purchasing all kinds of personal protective equipment. We are adequately supplied right now and we recognize we could see an increase in patients. I’m confident we have the necessary equipment to care for patients.”

Durniok said UPMC Chautauqua hasn’t been approached about the donation of supplies like medical masks. However, he said if that does happen, hospital officials will direct the donator to contact UPMC’s supply chain department.

“This way we can make sure the donations meet the appropriate safety standards,” he said. “We are prepared to work with people if they have items for us to consider.”

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