Nursing home residents backing up in local hospitals causing capacity concerns |

Nursing home residents backing up in local hospitals causing capacity concerns

Jennifer Lewke
Created: September 30, 2021 05:27 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — While nearly 99% of hospital workers in the Finger Lakes Region got vaccinated against COVID-19 and continue to work following the implementation of NYS’s vaccine mandate, local nursing homes aren’t seeing those same numbers. Many of them have stopped accepting residents while they assess whether they can keep up with the ones they have.

That means patients who need nursing care or rehabilitation are backing up in local hospitals. It’s not at a crisis level locally yet but it’s getting there. Across the region, we’ve got just 16% of available hospital capacity according to state data which is the lowest percentage in the state. Both URMC and Rochester Regional told News10NBC they could free up at least 10% more but they can’t find nursing homes that will accept patients ready for transfer.

“55 patients, almost 10% of our inpatient capacity is taken up with patients who are ready to go back to the nursing home… this has caused significant stress on our system,” explained Dr. Michael Apostolakos, the Chief Medical Officer at URMC.

How will that trickle down to you and your family if you need care? “Our emergency rooms are very full and there are long waits there, the urgent cares as well have been very full over the last couple of weeks,” explains Dr. Robert Mayo, the Chief Medical Officer at Rochester Regional Health.

Just how long are we talking, “certainly at our emergency rooms….it could be several hours depending on the level of illness,” said Dr. Apostolakos.

Even if it’s medically necessary for you to stay, you won’t get a fast-pass upstairs, “once a patient has been seen and is being prepared for admission to the hospital, there may be yet further waits before a room in the hospital it's available for them to be transferred,” Dr. Mayo said, “I know this is difficult for patients and their families and we want to resolve this and we work daily to do all that we can to minimize this type of impact.”

URMC, Rochester Regional, and a number of local counties have been meeting to talk about possibilities and expect to have a temporary solution in the coming days. Gov. Kathy Hochul has said that the state could provide or shift resources where necessary to help alleviate these types of situations but it is unclear at this point whether any state assistance has been requested.

We’d like to hear what your experiences have been inside our local hospitals over the last few days.  Email News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke at

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