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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island Welcomes U.S. Department of Defense Medical Team

Additional personnel will increase staff capacity and ensure uninterrupted care

Jan 24, 2022

Sheepshead Bay, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island today welcomed the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) medical team to support health care workers on the front lines in the continued battle against COVID-19. The DoD team is comprised of physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, army medics, respiratory technicians and command staff. The team arrived on Saturday, January 22nd, and were oriented and trained on hospital policies and procedures. They begin their first full day of work today. They will be mobilized at Coney Island Hospital for at least 30 days. Coney Island Hospital is the first NYC hospital to receive DoD care since the recent COVID-19 spike due to the Omicron variant.
“As one of the hardest hit hospitals across NYC Health + Hospitals, we are grateful for the DoD medical team support,” said Svetlana Lipyanskaya, CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island. “As we’ve seen in previous waves, hospitalization rates don’t decline as early as COVID positivity rates. As such, we’re still very much in the thick of this wave. Our amazing staff have been working tirelessly to care for our communities, and we welcome the opportunity to support them with reinforcements from the DoD.”
“Our healthcare heroes have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and deserve a much-needed break,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “We are grateful to the Biden Administration and Department of Defense for sending medical teams and supporting our workforce.”
“We are here at New York City Health + Hospital/Coney Island in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the request of the State of New York in response to the latest surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the local community,” said MAJ Hollye Cottle, the Officer in Charge of the Military Medical Team at Coney Island Hospital. “We remain committed to supporting the community of Coney Island as we work to help relieve pressure on local hospitals and healthcare workers overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.”
The DoD medical team will provide staffing support in key areas such as the emergency department, intensive care units and the medical-surgery unit to ensure uninterrupted and timely care continues to be delivered.
The latest wave of COVID-19 has seen case levels rising higher than all previous waves. While NYC at large is starting to see a plateau and decline in cases, there is still high transmission in the neighborhoods around NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island. The hospital continues to see higher positivity levels than NYC as a whole, and the hospital census remains high.
“I applaud the staff of NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island for their hard work on the front lines. The additional staff from the U.S. Department of Defense medical team will provide valuable staffing support as the hospital and the city continue to battle a surge in COVID-19 cases,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I’ll keep fighting to ensure that NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island has the resources it needs to continue to provide the highest quality of patient care.”
“It’s appreciated that the DoD is helping our local hospital in its time of need. Additionally, we must also continue to place an emphasis on increasing the availability of COVID therapeutics in order to ease the pains of this pandemic. While we have successfully advocated for a significant increase in New York’s monoclonal antibody supply, I continue to urge the administration to increase the production of these vital lifesaving treatments and antiviral medication that will help us address this virus and restore normalcy to our lives,” said Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis.
“This pandemic will not be over for any of us until it is over for all of us. The staff of Coney Island Hospital has tirelessly provided for the community since the beginning of the pandemic and has continued to step up as the winter surge spreads across our city. I thank the Department of Defense team who will be joining them to provide key staffing support and applaud the Biden administration for getting help to those who need it,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
“I am so grateful to the DoD for sending support to our overtaxed healthcare workers at Coney Island Hospital. This should be a wakeup call to Brooklynites in this area, where vaccination rates are still lagging. Please, get vaccinated, get boosted, protect yourself and support our essential workers,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso.
“We are grateful for the return and assistance of the U.S. Department of Defense and their team to our Coney Island and surrounding communities. The pandemic is not behind us yet, and our Healthcare Heroes are being stretched to their limits by the Omicron variant and the push to get more of our Southern Brooklyn neighbors vaccinated and boosted. This influx of help from the DoD is so important and will take the pressure off those who are already overburdened at Coney Island Hospital,” said NYS Senator Diane Savino.
“COVID has placed an enormous burden on the medical personnel at Coney Island Hospital. They’ve been on the front lines of this battle every day for the last 22 months in addition to meeting the day-to-day needs of the people of our community, and over time this has to take a toll,” said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn). “I’m pleased that the Department of Defense selected Coney Island Hospital as the recipient of a medical support team. These additional personnel will help the hospital continue to address the Omicron surge and ensure uninterrupted care for the people of our community.”
“I would like to thank President Biden, Governor Hochul, the Department of Defense, FEMA and HHS for deploying Military Medical Teams to New York City, specifically to Coney Island Hospital. Despite the surge of the Omicron variant in our city, the decline in cases is a sign of relief, however, there is still more work to do to protect ourselves and our communities against this virus,” said NYC Council Member Ari Kagan. “Essential workers have been the backbones of our society and their safety and wellbeing are important to those who need them. From the beginning of the pandemic, DoD has supported NYC Health + Hospitals and I am happy DoD will continue providing Coney Island Hospital with the much-needed staff support and other resources to continue the fight against COVID-19.” 
NYC Health + Hospitals received support from the DoD across the health care system during the first wave of COVID-19. The medical teams also addressed the emotional and mental health needs of frontline staffers.