NewsChannel 9 survey of local hospitals shows record number of patients admitted for COVID-19


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A record 174 people fighting COVID-19 were hospitalized in Onondaga County on Tuesday afternoon, a number that fluctuates minute-by-minute.

Hours later, the number had dropped to 168 as people were discharged or died.

Of the 168 patients, 43 people need the advanced treatment of an Intensive Care Unit.

The data is based on the facilities that responded to NewsChannel 9’s survey of every local hospital.

On Tuesday, Upstate University Hospital added an additional COVID-19 unit to both its bigger Downtown Syracuse hospital and its Community hospital. Between both facilities, 84 people were being treated for the virus. 29 of them were in the ICU.

Upstate has the capacity to treat 123 total coronavirus patients, but a spokesperson emphasizes that the maximum number is ever-changing based on staff availability and time of day.

St. Joseph’s Hospital is treating 45 coronavirus patients, five of whom are in the ICU. It can treat as many as 60 non-ICU patients and 60 ICU patients fighting the virus.

Crouse Hospital has 39 COVID-positive patients, with nine in the ICU. Crouse has 15 beds to spare as of Tuesday evening.

Outside of Onondaga County, only Auburn Community Hospital responded to NewsChannel 9. It is treating seven COVID-19 patients, with one person in the ICU and only three beds left open.

The number of total hospitalizations could be as much as 100 patients higher when adding up the hospitals who did not respond to NewsChannel 9 or would not share their data, including 76 people in hospitals in Utica and Rome according to the Oneida County Executive’s Office.

On Monday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says he expects the number of hospitalizations to stay consistent since the number of general cases is consistent. He said, “We’ve flattened them. We’ve got to bend them if we want these hospitalization numbers to go down. And if the hospitalization numbers go down, I think you’ll see some of these restrictions move.”

The restrictions McMahon referred to, like the shut-down of indoor dining at restaurants, and the shut-down of salons and gyms, went into effect when portions of Onondaga County were designated an “orange zone” by New York State.

Upstate University Hospital’s CEO, Dr. Robert Corona, said, “It really is up to the individual, if the individual decides to make a sacrifice for the next couple of weeks, that sacrifice is to help people in the hospital treat patients in rougher shape than we are.”

Each of the hospitals has the ability to increase their capacity numbers based on plans that were developed over the spring if COVID-19 hospitalizations surge. That would likely come with the cancellation of elective surgeries.

Onondaga County also has plans for field hospitals, like one at Manley Fieldhouse, in the event the hospitals run out of beds.

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