County to add 100 beds in Kingston

Posted 4/8/20

One month since Ulster County’s first positive case of COVID-19, County Executive Pat Ryan stressed the need for additional resources in order to combat the virus and protect the health and …

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County to add 100 beds in Kingston

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One month since Ulster County’s first positive case of COVID-19, County Executive Pat Ryan stressed the need for additional resources in order to combat the virus and protect the health and safety of Ulster County residents. County Executive Ryan stated that since Friday, Ulster County has seen a near 50% surge in those being hospitalized from COVID-19. The County presently has only one ICU bed available, and is on pace to exhaust all available beds and ventilators by the end of this week.

“Based on our projections, we will run out of both beds and ventilators by week’s end,” County Executive Ryan said. “We have been working around the clock to address this, and soon we will be announcing another initiative to add additional bed capacity in Ulster County. I’m proud that we have been successful in the production of our own PPE and in ramping up testing through our two mobile sites, but we still have urgent needs. With lives on the line, I won’t rest until we close these gaps.”

On Tuesday, Ryan announced that a new facility, located at the Kate Walton Fieldhouse on the Kingston High School campus, will be ready to open as soon as next week and will provide an additional 100 beds to serve patients transitioning into or out of area hospitals that may become overwhelmed by a surge in COVID-19 cases. Simultaneously, Ulster County will be standing up additional capacity in a portion of the former Bank of America building at TechCity. This location will allow for the buildout of potentially hundreds of additional beds and is scheduled to be up and running in May.

Ulster County’s Department of Public Works with assistance from Central Hudson and the Town of Ulster, will isolate and build out the 100,000 square foot space at TechCity. The location is expected to be available around the time local hospital capacity is apexing and will be utilized by residents still recovering and transitioning out of hospitals but unable to as yet return home.

“As I have said from day one, we will not rest until we have the facilities and the equipment needed to protect the health and safety of all of our residents,” County Executive Ryan said. “The Project Resilience Community Care Center will help save lives by providing much needed bed capacity to handle the expected surge of COVID-19 patients. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our plan based on the data we are seeing on the ground to ensure we stay ahead of the curve. I hope and pray that we don’t need to use these additional beds, but we must be prepared for the worst case. I want to thank Kingston City School District Superintendent Dr. Padalino along with all of the members of the school board for supporting this initiative.”

The Project Resilience Community Care Center at the Kate Walton Fieldhouse will remain in place for at least the month of April. Strategically located between the HealthAlliance’s Broadway and Mary’s Avenue campuses, the facility will be staffed by Nuvance Health in partnership with Health Alliance. When school comes back into session, the Project Resilience Community Center will shift exclusively to TechCity and the Kate Walton Fieldhouse will be put back into use for students’ athletic needs after a complete cleaning and decontamination.

“We are proud of the teamwork between our school district and Ulster County,” Superintendent Dr. Paul Padalino said. “I want to assure all parents that we are taking every step necessary to protect the safety of our staff and students. These are the moments that we must come together to support our community. We are happy to provide this critical location while the County constructs additional facilities.”

“The Kingston City School Board of Education unanimously supports this decision,” School Board President James Shaughnessy said. “We are working with Ulster County to both ensure that residents have the critical bed space that they need and to ensure that we can smoothly and safely transition the space back for students when the appropriate time comes.”

As cases of coronavirus continue to climb, it has become increasingly clear from available data that Ulster County will need more bed space to care for afflicted individuals. County Executive Ryan stated yesterday that Ulster County had seen a near 50% surge in those being hospitalized from COVID-19 over the last several days. He cautioned that the County was on course to exhaust all available beds and ventilators by the end of this week.

A week ago, the County and State announced that the Mary’s Avenue campus of HealthAlliance Hospital will be converted and built out to provide 235 beds for coronavirus patients in our community. It was a phenomenal step forward fighting this pandemic, and the County thanked Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his leadership and foresight in helping bring that to fruition.

For the past few weeks, a County team from the Health Department, Emergency Management, Department of Public Works and the Executive Office staff have surveyed numerous potential sites to facilitate additional increases in bed capacity for our residents. The team looked through schools, retail spaces and industrial sites, assessing facilities on their water supply, sewage disposal capacity, electric service capacity, natural gas hookups, generator supply and availability, ease of access, and air conditioning capacity. The team surveyed the former Coleman High School in Kingston, large vacant retail spaces, the former St. Joseph’s School, the County fairgrounds, warehouses and factories, and ultimately concluded the Kate Walton Fieldhouse and TechCity site as the best fit.

There are currently 402 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 5 fatalities in Ulster County.

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