Monroe County health officials say local hospitals are operating over capacity. Officials say it's not due to COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus or the flu, but over issues finding beds for nursing home patients who are healthy enough to be discharged but are unable to because of a lack of nursing home beds.
Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza provided an update alongside the heads of the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health.
RSV has had an early-season surge in the community, but officials it's not the main factor in capacity issues.
Strong Hospital's Executive Vice President Kathleen Parrinello says the Finger Lakes region has the lowest number of available inpatient beds in New York state.
Under state law, nursing home patients hospitalized are unable to be released unless there are nursing home beds available to care for them.
"The average number of patients waiting for nursing home placement, at Strong alone, is 100 patients,” Parrinello said. “And at Highland, on any given day, it’s over 30 patients waiting for nursing home placement. It’s very important to note, however, we do not fault our nursing homes being unable to take these patients. The nursing homes are also dealing with staffing shortages."
Parrinello says the state health department is launching a task force to deal with nursing home patient challenges.
Mendoza says there are things the public can do to help prevent further stress on the hospital systems. That includes getting vaccinated for both influenza and COVID-19, washing your hands often and using hand sanitizer, as well as staying home when you are sick.
Officials also urge those who feel they may need to go to an emergency department to first contact a primary care doctor to see if a trip to the ED is justified.