The temporary measures come as Mount Sinai's hospitals have filled with roughly as many COVID patients as the system had at the height of last winter's surge, which came in January, LoPachin said in the memo. As of Wednesday morning, Mount Sinai had 570 patients hospitalized with COVID across the system, including 42 in critical care.
But Mount Sinai's current inpatients are "overall, much less sick" than those who were in the hospital last winter, LoPachin said in the memo.
The pattern holds for Mount Sinai's emergency departments, which LoPachin said are managing to treat and release many more patients than in previous surges, meaning they are not sick enough to be admitted to the hospital.
"This wave brings much less severe illness and death," LoPachin wrote in the memo, adding that reports from South Africa indicate the city's wave of cases caused by the omicron variant could crest in mid-January.
Mount Sinai appears to be the first health system in the city to enact restrictions on elective or non-emergency procedures due to the statewide surge in omicron cases.
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An executive ordered issued earlier this month empowered the New York State Department of Health to limit non-essential, elective procedures at certain hospitals with a low percentage of available beds, but there are no city hospitals on the list of 25 that are currently subject to such restrictions.
"The Department retains the discretion to require any facility to limit non-essential elective procedures and/or implement other actions to coordinate services, as determined by DOH as necessary to protect public health," Health Department spokeswoman Erin Silk said in a statement.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's New York Business.