Ryan: Ulster has only one ICU bed left; will exhaust beds and ventilators by week’s end

County Executive Pat Ryan this afternoon stressed the need for additional resources for COVID-19 patients following a 50 percent increase in hospitalizations since Friday. He said 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.”

Ulster’s existing supplies and when it will run out. Ryan said the ICU bed total refers to available “fully staffed” ICU beds not being used for non-Covid cases, and said the county “is working with [its] hospital partners” to address the problem.

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The announcement of the coming shortages came on Monday. On Tuesday, Ryan explained the factors that went into the county’s projections.

As of Tuesday, the county had 402 cases with an overall hospitalization rate of 15 percent, with 5 percent of cases needing ICU care. Total cases are doubling approximately every five days. At that rate, the county will have 800 cases by April 12 and 1600 cases by April 17.

Also on Tuesday, Ryan said the county will add 100 beds at the Kate Walton Field House, a freestanding building on the Kingston High School campus that contains the school’s gym and pool. The new beds would be “step down” beds, meaning they would be used for patients who don’t need a high-level of care but aren’t yet ready to return home. Those beds could be ready as soon as next week. Also in the works: hundreds of additional bed capacity at the former Bank of America building at Tech City in the town of Ulster. While the Kate Walton Field House beds would only be the month of April, the beds at Tech City could be left in place longer if needed. According to a release, “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.”

Ryan assured concerned questioners at his Tuesday Facebook town hall that the Kate Walton Field House would be subject to “extensive cleaning and decontamination” before being used again by students, promising to return to his Army days and clean the floor with a toothbrush himself if needed.

Last Friday, Ryan put out a call seeking doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to assist in the  county’s response to COVID-19. As of Monday, over 70 individuals responded. Those who are interested in volunteering should fill out the form found here.

Read more local coronavirus coverage here. Sign up for regular updates with our dedicated COVID-19 in the Hudson Valley newsletter

There are 9 comments

  1. Marie Ratchford

    In the article regarding ICU beds in Kingston, I have been through there and the unit is very small. Maybe they should switch the area that has the most beds in it. Just a thought.

  2. Sickened

    NY state is horribly mismanaged by Gov. Cuomo, he has the blood of thousands of NYers on his hands.

  3. R. Prosser

    How many of the ICU beds are being occupied by non-Ulster county residents, aka weekenders. People who RAN as fast as the could out of that pit stuck on the bottom of our State NYC? These gentrifiers that have taken over the Hudson valley and we’re ordered to shelter in place. But came north to be a burden on the limited resources up here. Disgusting

  4. Jp

    Cuomo screwed up not locking down NYC….Plain and simple! Stop the spread. Many fled here, upstate, Connecticut and elswhere. He tells you stay home, stop working, and than let’s others from the epicenter travel…..mixed messages.

  5. Dr. Swing

    Whatever happened to being a “free country”? And, before that; “Love thy neighbor, as thyself”. It is time to stop the us and them ideology, the “me, mine, my” way of thinking, has divided us all, and festers only hate. I have the only religion. I am in the correct political party. I am the right race and color. My neighborhood is mine, and I do not want outsiders, in MY area. I know what’s right, and you do not, and on, and on, and on, and on…
    … Label, divide, seperate, and hate, hate, hate. I have heard, normally good people state, that what if those city folk take our hospital beds, and then I need the bed? What a warped sense of reality. Are not we all humans? So, you believe logistics, of where you are from should decide a persons fate? Just because you might get sick, and need that bed at a later moment in time? So, what, we should deny healthcare too someone, because they are from 100 miles south of us? Funny, many of you do all you can too seperate the city folk from their money, and can not do enough to get them up here, when times are good. But, during this outbreak, they should be shut out, why you hypocrites. How about, we are all human beings, and are each equal, both by Gods Word and our own declaration of independence of this once great nation. Remember… When the Christ was asked by his apostles, on the eve before his crucifixion; Which of us is the most important? His reply: “The least of you, is the most of you, and the most of you the least.” One more point, in my neighborhood , there are several city owned “summer homes”, and yes, they all filled up over the last few weeks. These replanted city folks, are staying too themselves, staying quarenteed and following all proper covid-19 protocols. However, my everyday regular neighbors, are not, they are running around, having parties, not following social distancing. Like they are immune, or something. One actually laughed at me, and stated “This is upstate, there’s nothing going on up here, that’s in NYC.” This virus does not differentiate between the ignorant country bumpkin and those from a large metropolis . It is deadly…
    … and only through humanitarian action, caring for one another, kindness and sharing will we come out of it, as one nation, under God. Thank God for all those who do not see all the labels that we lay on each other, only another human who needs their care. It is through their tireless time in harms way, on the frontline, that we will survive. Thank you all.

  6. Nonbeliever

    I agree with you, Dr. Swing, even though I’d be best classified as an atheist. There is really nothing to add except to say–these should be universal human values with religion not a necessary prerequisite. Thanks for articulating so well.

  7. BS

    ICU covid-19 bedding can be made at so many locations in Ulster County, it is sick. Why in the world, are we worried and complaining about running out of bed space? Tech-City comes to mind, Ulster SUNY, Kiwanis Skating Rink in Saugerties, empty schools everywhere, the Armory, the many empty storefronts and malls, and many other large venues. Though of these, Tech-City seems the best with heliopads, security access, large buildings with floors of perfect size former office space, and adjacent rail and highway access. The National Guard can deploy, maybe with the Army Engineers, and in a week a several thousand room hospital. Ventilators, staff, and proper PPE are still an issue, but getting better, hopefully having much more by the time hospitalizations increase up here. (Do not let them fool you, it will be much worse, before it gets better, & the biggest liar in the world, the pompous idiot that he is, does not tame my doubts and fears, at all.) So, instead of talking heads giving facetime, telling us the same thing, just about everyday, maybe they can start using their time to come up with real solutions.

  8. Jp

    Well Dr Swing, sounds as if you have problems with your neighbors, and condemn others for the common sense approach of keeping NYC quarantined. If Saugerties had been ground zero, dont kid yourself. The state would have isolated all of us. Also, your rant on us disliking city people is unwarranted…..never said we dont want them coming and visiting. Tourism is a big part of this area…..but they were fleeing and did bring it to other parts of the state no matter how much you preach.

  9. Jimmy Kilpatrick

    NY City has many more ventilators then ill ever need as well as military hospitals being shut down. Isn’t the NY National Guard able to set-up potable hospital in the area? No time to point fingers and turn your back on fellow human beings.

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