UPMC Caring For 25 COVID-19 Positive Inpatients, Preparing For Surge They ‘Hope Doesn’t Happen’

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — UPMC doctors say the health care system is currently caring for 25 inpatients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

They released the details Friday morning during a news conference that included three doctors who are overseeing their response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In their entire system, UPMC says they have had 141 patients test positive for COVID-19. Of those, eight are being treated in hospitals, and 17 more are in the ICU.

Dr. Donald Yealy, the chair of UPMC’s Emergency Medicine Department, says staffs are preparing for a surge in cases that he hopes doesn’t happen.

Right now, Dr. Yealy believes the number of positive cases are low across their system. The doctor says currently they have plenty of masks, gowns and personal protective gear for their staff.

As for beds to handle a potential surge in patients, each UPMC hospital is making a plan to increase their capacity to 200%.

“We currently have 750 ICU beds across our system, and additionally, we have another 450 intermediate beds that we can convert to ICU beds if needed. That’s a tremendous ability to flex up in a short amount of time to cover about 1,500 critical care patients,” Dr. Rachel Sackrowitz, the chief medical officer of UPMC ICU Service Center, said.

Some new changes across the UPMC system just started on Thursday. Moving forward, all staff and visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, plus they will be given a mask for protection.