Bellevue Hospital resumes full operations for first time since Sandy

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Military personnel aid during an evacuation of Bellevue Hospital October 31, 2012 in New York City. The hospital had been operating on backup generators since losing power during Hurricane Sandy but had to be evacuated once the extent of the damage became clear. The storm has claimed several dozen lives in the United States and has caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic seaboard. U.S. President Barack Obama has declared the situation a "major disaster" for large areas of the U.S. east coast, including New York City, with widespread power outages and significant flooding in parts of lower Manhattan and elsewhere. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images) Allison Joyce/Getty

Bellevue Hospital Center, New York City's 276-year-old, landmark hospital for the poor, has fully reopened for the first time since it was badly damaged by flooding from Superstorm Sandy.

The hospital has been slowly restoring limited service since the storm, which sent the East River pouring into its basement.

But on Thursday, the storied Manhattan hospital reopened its level 1 trauma center, its intensive care units and its maternity ward and began admitting patients again to all 828 of its beds.

City Health and Hospitals Corporation President Alan Aviles says part of the repair work involved measures to prevent future problems during storms.

"We re-open Bellevue not just with a plan for today, but also with a long-term plan to strengthen Bellevue against storms that may strike in the future," Aviles said in a written statement. "The repair work has been performed from the beginning with an eye toward the future, fortifying important electrical systems, elevators, water supply pumps and more. This work will continue well after Bellevue returns to normal service."

During the storm, Bellevue lost its main power. It proceeded to run on backup generators through the storm, but when the National Guard discovered that there was 17 million gallons of water in the flooded basement, the decision was made to shut the hospital down and relocate the remaining 500 patients on Oct. 31.

NYU Medical Center, right next door, also evacuated after sustaining flood damage.

Bellevue partially reopened in November with limited services, including walk-in non-emergency services and OB-GYN services for women.

With a blizzard making its way to New York City beginning Friday, Feb. 8, a Bellevue spokesperson told CBSNews.com that hospital management has issued an alert that enables them to to put together a contingency plan in the event of a storm.

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