By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are considering a variety of options and ways to overcome the shortage of hospital beds. On Monday, Delaware announced it’s moving some long-term care residents, just in case.

Thirty-four residents from the Governor Bacon Health Center in Delaware City will be moved to the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill in Smyrna in an effort to consolidate staffing, which is running low, and to limit potential exposures.

“There’s no positive cases at either facility, but we suspect that over time, those will continue to grow,” Divison of Services for Aging and Adults With Physical Disabilities Director Dana Newman said. “But we still need to meet the needs of our residents. So by consolidating our workforce, we have a greater potential of continuing to meet staffing needs.”


The move will also allow the Governor Bacon Health Center to be used for extra hospital beds if needed for an overflow of COVID-19 patients.

“We take the safety of our staff and residents very seriously, which is why we’re doing this methodically and we’re taking absolutely every precaution. We’re doing it now to get ahead of the actual need and the growing concerns around COVID-19,” Newman said.

In New Jersey, Inspira Medical Center in Woodbury — formerly Underwood Hospital — is being considered as a surge site for coronavirus patient overflow. Officials say 300 beds there could be ready in three to four weeks.

In Pennsylvania, there is still no decision on the shuttered Hahnemann Hospital being used to handle overflow patients or as a quarantine site, but it reportedly doesn’t have beds or other basic supplies.

“We’ve also talked about repurposing ambulatory surgical facility beds since elective procedures are going to be postponed and use those as hospital beds. We’re even looking at hotels that might be possible to have for convalescence and sub-acute beds. So we’re going to be looking at all of those possibilities,” Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said.

Pennsylvania state officials have waived restrictions on bed capacity so that hospitals will be able to take care of more patients.

Since the outbreak, there’s been a 10% increase in the number of COVID-19 patients who’ve needed hospitalization.

Stephanie Stahl