Brooks preparing for possible ‘surge’ in patients

OBSERVER Photo Brooks Memorial Hospital.

The Brooks-TLC Hospital System is working with the state Health Department and hospitals across the state in expectation that there will be a “surge” in need due to the coronavirus.

Brooks-TLC, in a news release, said a major spike in positive coronavirus cases will result in sicker patients and increased admissions across the community and health system. In preparation for this event, the State Department of Health has instructed hospitals across the State to update their recently submitted “surge¨ pandemic plans.

“We are and will continue to look at all areas to maximize our resources including equipment, space, and personnel,” said Mary LaRowe, president and CEO of Brooks-TLC Health System, Inc. “Our staff is exceptional and their efforts during this pandemic truly demonstrates commitment to the community’s health.”

The State’s goal is to increase hospital inpatient bed capacity by 50% to help fight the ongoing coronavirus health crisis.

Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, M.D. held a conference call Friday with dozens of hospital executives from across the State and outlined the new mandate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the new initiative during his media briefing Friday.

Increasing bed capacity by 50% could include any or all of the following:

Doubling up private rooms and conversion of hospital space into rooms.

Utilization of ambulatory surgery space and recovery areas.

Redeployment of medical equipment (ventilators, patient beds, etc.).

Increasing bed capacity will ultimately increase the need for additional personnel.

State leaders have said that these capacity surge plans will now include:

Scope of practice change for physicians and all licensed personnel.

Partnering with labor unions on establishing dedicated coronavirus care teams.

Bringing back physicians and nurses who may have recently retired

Expediting graduates of health sciences, nursing and medical school programs.

In the meantime, Brooks-TLC also released the following updates and reminders regarding the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic:

HOSPITALS IN NEED OF MASKS: Hospitals in Western New York are competing nationally and internationally for resources. Brooks-TLC is asking for the community’s help in protecting staff in the coming weeks by donating unused masks they may have: Any N95 and Non-N95 mask donations will be accepted. N95 masks that are in high need are:

3M 1860 model (size regular and small), Halyard model #46767 and 46867. To help contact Shelia Walier at 716 363 3313 or Email at

STAY HOME MESSAGE: Brooks-TLC is emphasizing the STAY AT HOME message along with state and federal authorities across the nation. Leave home only when absolutely necessary and practice social distancing and aggressive hand washing. The community’s support of these recommendations is vital to the efforts of hospitals to keep staff and patients safe. The hospital has restricted visitation for everyone’s safety.

As a reminder, per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the Chautauqua County Health Department , if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or if you develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.


IF YOU GET SICK WITH FEVER (100 degrees F or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing:

First, call your healthcare provider and explain your symptoms

Avoid contact with others. Stay home when you are sick.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Before seeking health care, call ahead to the facility and tell them your situation. They will give you instructions on how to access care without exposing other people to your illness.

For testing information please call your healthcare provider. DO NOT CALL THE HOSPITAL

OR COME TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT. Communications have been sent by the Health Department to healthcare providers regarding testing guidelines.

Healthcare providers will need to determine whether or not the individual needs to be tested. If the healthcare provider approves your testing, your provider (not the individual) will contact the Health Department.

Finally, the individual will be notified by the Department of Health if he or she came in contact with someone who tested positive in Chautauqua County.


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