Arnot Health has submitted its COVID-19 Response Surge Plan to the NYS Commissioner of Health. The comprehensive plan, which includes an overall increase in acute and ICU beds across the Arnot Health system (Arnot Ogden Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elmira, N.Y. and Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital in Bath, N.Y.), was developed in response to Governor Cuomo’s directive that NYS hospitals increase their bed capacity by 50% or more to respond the COVID-19 pandemic.

To help contain the spread of COVID-19 and begin preparing for the anticipated statewide increase in patients, Arnot Health suspended all elective, non-emergent surgeries and procedures on March 17, and has since worked to reschedule all non-emergent appointments in our clinics and outpatient areas, including imaging. These efforts have greatly reduced the health system’s census in its hospitals, and have also freed up critical staff resources to focus on pandemic response assignments and preparation.

“Arnot Health understands that today’s actions and efforts will determine the future course of this pandemic, the safety of our healthcare workforce, and the health of our community,” said Jonathan Lawrence, President and CEO of Arnot Health. “To that end, we have submitted a surge plan in response to the Governor’s request that fully leverages all available resources to meet the potential demand for critical services.”

Arnot’s ambitious COVID-19 Response Surge Plan puts forth an 84% surge capacity, exceeding the Governor’s minimum request of 50%. The plan calls for repurposing areas of its facilities that were not fully utilized or recently made available due to suspension of elective services. These areas include same day surgery and other clinical space used primarily for non-emergent, elective services. Staff from those areas (as well as those from outpatient clinic operations that have been suspended or curtailed) will be redeployed to enable Arnot Health’s to increase its system-wide medical-surgical and ICU bed capacity.

Critical to these efforts will be the system’s ability, as outlined in the plan, to acquire additional personnel, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE), additional equipment (beds, monitoring equipment, and especially ventilators), medications and other critical items needed to open and supply the units. This will require state assistance and coordination, and timing will be important and Arnot continues to order and source items as they become available.

“All of us across the Arnot system have chosen to confront this challenge by being energized, and mobilized -- not paralyzed,” said Lawrence. “Our team has been working 24/7 since the outset of this crisis to ensure our readiness across our system to meet community need.”