The Mohawk Valley Health System is preparing for a surge in patients.

Dr. Mike Attilio, Vice President Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Group says the state has issued requirements for health care systems to make sure they are prepared for a potentially huge surge in the number of patients admitted to the hospital.

MVHS will surge St. Luke’s to 100 percent of its current census and St. Elizabeth to 75 percent of its current census. This surge will add a total of 314 additional beds to the system.

Some of the ambulatory or outpatient clinic locations will be closed to prepare for the surge. "You will still have access to the providers who care for you everyday," Attilio said in a statement. "You can still call your office for any care you need. Providers will continue to answer the phones."

Patients are being offered a variety of other ways to connect with providers including remote visits with Facetime, Skype or Zoom calls. "Our goal is still to keep people at home as much as possible."

The changes at the hospitals are necessary to allow doctors and nurses to "take care of the sickest of the sick in our hospital."

There is also a desperate need for cloth masks. MVHS is asking those who are looking to help to make cloth masks that can be used by those not providing direct patient care.

If you are in need of materials, JoAnn’s Fabrics, located at 120 Genesee Street, New Hartford, is offering free fabric mask-making supply kits. Orders can be made for curbside pick up Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. When you arrive at the store, call 315-733-4969 and tell the person on the phone you would like a kit. The kit will have enough materials for ten masks. Once all ten masks are sewn, they can be brought back to JoAnn’s for distribution to MVHS. Then, a person may receive another kit of materials to create more masks.

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