Stony Brook University took several steps to prepare for the expected wave of patients with coronavirus.
The hospital has created a forward triage and treatment area, moving incoming patients away from the main emergency room. These patients, who have influenza-like illnesses, will move to another triage area. The staff in this section will include board-certified emergency medicine physicians and emergency medicine nurses who can safely screen patients and collect respiratory pathogen point of contact testing and offer advice and follow up.
In the last three weeks, Stony Brook Hospital has also created three units which include 45 beds in total for people under investigation. The hospital will complete another unit with 16 beds. Stony Brook has also increased its capacity for overflow bed needs and is actively working to expand its Intensive Care Unit and stepdown bed capacity.
Stony Brook has enlisted the help of numerous volunteers from its various ranks, including graduate, medical and nursing students, who are available if and when the patient numbers climb above capacity. The university also has the support of MD/PhDs and PhD graduate students from its basic science and clinical departments who volunteered to help with laboratory response for testing. For in-house testing, the hospital prioritizes work assignments for those students with relevant lab experience with the techniques necessary to perform PCR assays of the type required to assess the presence of the virus.
Stony Brook has also postponed elective surgery and procedures. Urgent procedures or operations necessary to preserve life and function will continue. The hospital is allowing non-essential personnel to work from home.
Stony Brook has developed relationships with two commercial laboratories to send their patient samples, as well as the New York State Department of Health Wadsworth Laboratories. They are working to validate instrumentation to ensure the ability to perform internal testing.