Another grim warning has been sounded in the State of New York, as hospitalizations have begun shooting up, owing to a rise in coronavirus infections. On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo also ordered hospitals to increase bed capacity by 50 percent, to cater to the growing positivity rates statewide.
As New York’s coronavirus positivity rate reached 4.57 percent, with hospitalizations surging past 3,500 over the weekend, for the first time since May, Gov. Cuomo, on Monday warned the state could go back on “PAUSE” if hospitals become overwhelmed.
Cuomo triggered emergency hospital procedures statewide as part of his new five-point winter strategy to combat the state’s weak points, ensuring that the situation goes out of control before a possible vaccine dissemination. He added during the Monday announcement that the number one priority is ensuring the state has enough hospital capacity to treat all patients, which means that the state could go back on “PAUSE” if the hospitals become overwhelmed.
“Literally every region is dealing with a hospital issue now,” Cuomo said, adding that the state cannot exchange health care resources between upstate and downstate hospitals if all regions are already on alert.
“We’re going to have a problem in the hospitals, I’m telling you that right now. It’s going to be a serious situation,” Cuomo said. The Governor also ordered hospitals across the state to identify retired doctors and nurses to return to the frontlines, confirm a 90-day PPE stockpile, and increase bed capacity by 50 percent. Elective surgeries will be halted in regions when necessary, starting with Eric County on Friday.
The governor also said new metrics will inform the red, yellow, and orange zones based upon hospital availability and demand. He said the state is waiting to review the “post-Thanksgiving effect” before finalizing those metrics, which will be tracked on a new state department of health dashboard.
“When facts change, when the attack changes, change your situation and your defense or offense. COVID is shifting the battlefield dramatically,” Cuomo said. Apart from looking at hospital capacities, the governor’s winter strategy also prioritizes increased testing, keeping schools open, minimizing small gatherings, and deploying the vaccine, once approved and available.
This being said, additional restrictions, like limiting indoor dining in New York City, don’t appear to be on the table at the moment.