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Mount Sinai South Nassau reports 'unprecedented' situation, with 200 coronavirus patients, 61 on ventilators

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Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital in Oceanside is now dealing with an "unprecedented" situation -- some 200 patients have tested positive for the cornavirus, 61 of them on ventilators, a spokesman said Tuesday.

"We are stretched beyond anything we have seen in the past," spokesman Joe Calderone said. "The situation here is unprecedented."

In early March, there were only eight coronavirus cases at the hospital, Calderone said.

The hospital has requested 50 more ventilators but does not know when they will arrive. On Monday, 50 patients were on ventilators.

"This [virus] is unprecedented for the entire healthcare system," Calderone said. "It has stretched our staff. They're doing what they're trained to do. They're rising to the occasion. They are stepping forward. But the situation is a concern. We could use more ventilators."

The hospital has canceled all non-elective surgery, and coronavirus patients are separated from the rest of the hospital.

"It's a very stressful situation for the staff," Calderone said. "All of our resources are being stressed as never before."

Mount Sinai South Nassau is a 455-bed facility. It is the nearest hospital to the Long Beach barrier island, since Long Beach Medical Center has been shut down after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

There is a deep concern on the barrier beach about the availability of hospitals for those affected by the virus. Both the Long Beach school board and State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat and State Assemblywoman Missy Miller of Atlantic Beach, have asked Dr. Howard Zucker, the state's health commissioner, to study the feasibility of using a part of the closed Long Beach Medical Center.

Calderone said the state's Office of General Services requested information about the Long Beach facility. He said Mount Sinai responded but has heard nothing more from the state. Mount Sinai acquired the Long Beach hospital in a bankruptcy sale for about $11 million.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 79 coronavirus cases in Long Beach and scattered others on the barrier island.

John Bendo, president of the Long Beach City Council, said in a statement Monday the council supports the requests of the school board, Kaminsky and Miller.

"As this crisis is showing us, our medical system has limited capacity to deal with large scale out of the ordinary situations," Bendo said. "We will support any effort that helps ensure that our medical system will be able to meet the medical needs of our community during this crisis and in the future"

South Nassau, a nonprofit medical center is a provider of health services to more than 900,000 residents on Long Island’s South Shore. With 3,500 employees and 900 affiliated physicians, it is one of the few remaining independently controlled hospitals on Long Island. Mount Sinai’s Long Island footprint has 200 physicians and other experts at 11 multidisciplinary practices. With 3,500 employees and 900 affiliated physicians, Mount Sinai South Nassau is a partner of the Mount Sinai Health System.