GREENPORT — Columbia-Greene Community College is on the list of places in New York state that could be converted into a temporary field hospital for treatment of overflow coronavirus patients, state officials said.
The state is considering C-GCC as a possible location for a field hospital, officials confirmed Wednesday.
With ballooning COVID-19 cases in New York City and Westchester, medical care facilities in the Twin Counties may be called upon to host overflow patients from downstate.
Columbia-Greene Community College and Columbia Memorial Health are included in state plans to expand capacity to meet increased demand for beds as the crisis reaches its peak, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimates could arrive in three weeks.
“C-GCC was one of the first organizations to contact us to offer their large areas,” Columbia County Director of Emergency Management David Harrison Jr. said. “We passed that information on to New York state.”
“We were approached by the state asking if we had the type of facility that could possibly be used as a field hospital,” said C-GCC Director of Marketing and Communications Jaclyn Stevenson. “We said yes, but only for convalescing patients — people who are not actively ill but are quarantined.”
The community college has not been given details about how the field hospital would be built or staffed, Stevenson said.
“We are on deck as part of a larger state network as the pandemic moves forward,” Stevenson said, noting that the college has not had any additional correspondence with state officials.
In addition to C-GCC, Columbia Memorial Health may soon receive COVID-19 patients transferred from downstate, Albany Medical Center said in a statement Wednesday.
“At present, we have not been asked to accept patient transfers from other facilities or locations,” said CMH Spokesman William Van Slyke.
Albany Medical Center accepted 14 transfer patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 from downstate hospitals on Tuesday evening. Hospitals in the Albany Medical Center network, which includes Columbia Memorial Health, are expected to follow suit.
Albany Medical Center is coordinating with its affiliate and partner hospitals in the Capital Region, said Dr. Dennis P. McKenna, Albany Medical Center’s incoming president and CEO.
“These hospitals have also agreed to care for additional patients, and we remain in close communication,” he said.
CMH has taken rented hospital beds and ventilators in an effort to double its capacity to meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s goal of increasing the state’s hospital capacity by 100%.
Columbia Memorial Health is on track to meet the governor’s goal, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Clifford Belden said at a press conference at Albany Medical Center last week.
At C-GCC, construction is underway at the main campus building to fix the roof and install heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, ceiling replacements and lighting as part of a long-planned capital project to improve facilities.
The college received the go-ahead to continue construction during the COVID-19 shutdown because of C-GCC’s designation as a potential field hospital for convalescing patients, Stevenson said.
The construction was deemed essential by Michael Morris, the state Department of Labor’s Capital Region representative to Cuomo.
C-GCC will be ready if called on by the county to host patients, Stevenson said.
“Had we not been able to continue construction, that would have been an issue,” she said.
“SUNY stands ready to do all we can to help Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to support the state’s public health system as we deal with the increase in coronavirus cases,” SUNY Press Secretary Holly Liapis said Wednesday.