Hospitalizations become state’s top concern; elective surgeries to end in Erie County starting Friday


ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hospitalizations are the state’s top concern, and a new factor in cluster zone designations, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday morning.

We’ve been seeing the “fall surge” in COVID-19 cases that the Governor has been warning about. Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 recently surpassed 3,500, as of Sunday.

Erie County, which has seen especially high infection rates lately, will have a new restriction starting Friday — no more elective surgeries.

The Governor says the county has the “most critical hospital situation in the state.”

“We’re not going to live through the nightmare of overwhelmed hospitals again,” Cuomo says. If hospitals do become overwhelmed, the Governor says there will be a state investigation.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is not as much concerned about hospital capacity as he is about staffing.

With Thanksgiving behind us, Cuomo is expecting to see another surge in cases between three and seven days from Monday. He referred to this as part of an expected “holiday surge.”

According to Cuomo, the holiday season, where many people will be gathering together, typically indoors, will last 37 days.

He says 65 percent of COVID-19 cases in the state result from small gatherings.

Depending on how bad the situation in New York State gets, the Governor says it’s possible that we could return to “NY on PAUSE,” where non-essential businesses are shut down.

The big difference from the shutdown we saw in the spring though, is that the Governor is pushing for K-8 schools to stay open. He says data shows that schools are safer than the surrounding community in terms of viral spread.

In orange zones, 20 percent of the school population must be tested over a month’s time. It’s 30 percent in red zones.

To be clear, the schools can close, but Cuomo would like them to stay open as long it’s safe to stay that way.


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