Ulster County will increase its hospital beds from about 100 to 335 by adding 235 beds at the St. Mary’s Avenue campus of HealthAlliance in Kingston.
“I would like to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for his continued leadership in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan. “His ability to rapidly mobilize resources across the state and his relentless drive to protect New Yorkers will undoubtedly save lives, including many here in Ulster County.”
Ryan said the action serves the goal of increasing regional capacity, “meaning Ulster County and the surrounding counties.” Ulster has two hospitals – Ellenville Regional Hospital, and the two campuses of HealthAlliance, one on Broadway and one on Mary’s Avenue (formerly Benedictine Hospital).
The Mary’s Avenue campus is destined to become the main hospital in Kingston, thanks to a $92 million plan that broke ground last fall. But at the moment, much of the building is not being used, with most of Kingston’s hospital services delivered on the Broadway campus.
Capacity would be increased “primarily by retrofitting parts of the former Benedictine Hospital,” stated a release. Ryan said “there’s a good number of beds and rooms that will be very quickly ready to go. And there is another set that will require some degree of construction work, not adding any new major pieces, but bringing rooms online that haven’t been online for several years, fixing things here and there, some utility pieces. But because it used to be its own freestanding hospital, the bones are there.”
The county currently has 20 ICU beds and 25 ventilators. The goal is to increase those numbers to 80 and 100. Ryan said today’s announcement was about boosting overall capacity, and the county still needs to acquire the needed equipment to increase the portion of ICU beds.
Ryan said in addition to adding rooms and equipment, the county is also seeking to boost staff. “That’s the other critical resource we’re working on.”
Things are moving quickly and it’s not yet known when all beds will be up and running. “Plans for this are ongoing and a date for operations has not yet been determined,” stated Westchester Medical Center Health Network, which operates the hospital.
The county currently has 133 diagnosed COVID-19 cases.