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OpinionColumnistsKai Teoh

See hospital beds available on Long Island

NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola is adding beds

NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola is adding beds in conference rooms, a library and tents, among other spots. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Long Island has about 7,250 hospital beds, according to a Newsday analysis of New York State Health Department data. After a mandate from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that all hospitals double their capacity, the number of available beds has increased rapidly.

The two temporary hospitals under construction at Stony Brook University and SUNY Old Westbury are expected to have a total of more than 2,000 beds, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, and are slated to open by April 19. Those beds will be for non-COVID-19 patients to allow nearby hospitals treat more serious cases.

And as the number of coronavirus cases in Nassau and Suffolk counties continues to rise at a rapid clip, Northwell Health is getting creative with how it is adding beds to its system, increasing capacity by 60% — and going beyond the state's mandate of 50%.

This week, it added six tents, with 10 beds each, on the Manhasset parking lot of North Shore Hospital. Officials also removed 300 seats from the hospital's auditorium to place additional beds there, and added some more to a conference center on the property. The Northwell system also is converting cafeteria spaces and conference rooms into bed space. And, since elective surgeries are canceled, Northwell is using some of its operating-room space for beds for coronavirus patients.

Other Northwell facilities across the Island are renting spaces to accommodate more beds.

All told, Northwell plans to add 2,400 beds to its existing capacity, hospital officials said.

That effort comes as there has been a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases across Long Island — an increase that likely will worsen as we reach the apex. As of Thursday morning, Nassau had 10,587 coronavirus cases, while Suffolk had 8,746.

Overnight, Nassau saw an increase of more than 1,000 cases.

Northwell health hospitals surge capacity

Hospital Beds in service Surge capacity
Long Island Jewish Medical Center 699 436
LIJ Valley Stream 192 96
Southside Hospital 318 131
Huntington Hospital 284 120
Glen Cove Hospital 145 73
Syosset Hospital 62 45
Plainview Hospital 161 81
Peconic Bay Medical Center 144 56
Mather Hospital 175 102
Source: Northwell Health