The first patients were admitted Thursday to the first hospital in the area designated to treat only patients testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

Catholic Health announced last week it was transitioning the Sisters of Charity Hospital St. Joseph Campus on Harlem Rd. into a COVID-19 treatment hospital.

Walk-ins will not be accepted.  Admission is only through a doctor's order from another Catholic Health facility. The healthcare organization expects to release more details Friday on how the process will work.

Catholic Health says they have seen their Emergency Department activity increase, but says it is managing well so far. For staff safety, and in preparation for a potential increase in patients seeking care, triage tents have now been set up outside of the Emergency Departments at Mercy Hospital, Kenmore Mercy, Sisters Hospital, Mt. St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston and the Mercy Ambulatory Care Center in Orchard Park.

Catholic Health said they are still waiting for supplies to begin rapid, on-site testing for COVID-19. In the meantime, they continue to use Quest for their testing needs.

In addition work continues to build an inventory of ventilators to increase the supply. They are also continuing to purchase personal protective equipment. (PPE) and expressed gratitude for the donations their hospitals continue to receive.