Montefiore in New Rochelle temporarily moves labor, delivery unit to St. John's in Yonkers

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Hospitals all over New York state are preparing for a surge in coronavirus cases so they're working together to try and get things running smoothly before that happens.

Montefiore Hospital in New Rochelle announced Wednesday that its labor and delivery unit will temporarily move to St. John's Riverside Hospital in Yonkers to increase bed capacity for coronavirus patients.

Health care professionals say there's already been a tremendous amount of data sharing between doctors at different area hospitals as they help each other prepare.  "Our OB-Laborists are on duty 24 hours a day and they will help support the patients who need help. We have also given emergency temporary privileges to some of the OBGYN doctors from Montefiore in New Rochelle to be able to come over as needed to take care of their obstetrical patients at St. John's," says Dr. Mark Silberman, chief of emergency medicine at St. John's Riverside Hospital.

Dr. Silberman says they're expanding their ICU capacity and trying to acquire more supplies and equipment in addition to taking on Montefiore's labor unit. He says it certainly makes more sense to get it all in place now rather than wait and be left scrambling to try and make it work. "The peak of symptoms is coming very soon, the peak of pneumonia is coming like a week after that and the peak of ventilators is probably coming a couple of weeks after that, so this is going to continue to rise in terms of the need for intensive medical care," says Silberman.

While some hospitals have decided to prohibit spouses and partners from the delivery room due to the COVID-19 crisis, officials at St. John's say their policy is to test a spouse or partner first. And if they are healthy, they will be allowed in the delivery room.
Doctors say they understand these are stressful times to have a baby, so they are doing all they can to alleviate some of those fears. They say if a spouse or partner is cleared to be in the delivery room, once they enter the hospital they must stay and they won't be allowed to leave and come back. They say the policy may have to change, but for now, mothers won't be by themselves in the delivery room.

St. John's Riverside Hospital is currently caring for dozens of patients with confirmed and unconfirmed tests.

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