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St. Joseph hospital being converted to COVID-19 treatment center


Catholic Health will convert its St. Joseph Campus of Sisters Hospital into a facility dedicated entirely to treating the novel coronavirus. While President and CEO Mark Sullivan says his hospital system is only treating two COVID-19 patients as of Thursday, there is widespread belief the current numbers of diagnosed patients will rise significantly.

The building on Harlem Road in Cheektowaga was once a standalone hospital until conversion to a branch of Sisters on Main Street in North Buffalo. At a news conference Thursday, Sullivan said it's the right building at the right location.

"Right now as we're sitting here, the teams are retrofitting the rooms to have this happen. We don't need to clear out a hospital because of our decisive actions earlier this month on closing down certain services. We are now able to address that campus with a lot more nimbleness than if you were at a larger campus," Sullivan said.

Sullivan says hospital staffers have volunteered to work in the new treatment center and workers are trying to install the equipment.

There is a medical office building on the property and Sullivan says Catholic Health will work with that building operator to separate hospital patients and those in the office building.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.