Cuomo Enacts New Hospital Measures Amid Covid-19 Uptick

A patient arrives in an ambulance at a hospital on Long Island during the coronavirus pandemic. (Long Island Press photo)

With coronavirus hospitalizations on the rise, Gov. Andrew Cuomo rallied for resources for medical centers to increase capacity while considering lockdowns and suspending elective surgeries in some areas.

The governor invoked Sun Tzu’s Art of War  as well as A.J. Parkinson  in a Monday press conference in making an announcement that outlined a plan going into the holiday season which health officials have warned could result in strain for medical staff.

“Covid is shifting the battlefield dramatically and we have entered a new phase, it came with the colder weather,” Cuomo said. “We now have a holiday surge on top of a fall surge.”

As such, yellow, orange, and red zones will now be established based on new indicators: hospitalization rate, death rate, case rate, available hospital beds, available ICU beds, available staff, PPE, and equipment availability.

The Northwell, Montefiore, and NYC Health and Hospitals systems will all begin sharing the workload from the surge already underway. He ordered elective surgeries suspended in Erie County to create more bed space in the hard-hit region.

“We’re going to have a problem in the hospitals, I’m telling you right now,” Cuomo said.

According to Cuomo, 65 percent of all cases can be traced back to social gatherings in homes  limited to 10 people  leading to the decision to not impose more restrictions on indoor dining as they observe the spread taking place elsewhere.

Out of concern for staffing shortages, Cuomo is calling into action a strategy from the spring surge and mandating that hospitals compile a list of retired nurses and doctors who may be able to return to service in the coming weeks.

Cuomo added that he was more concerned that hospitals would run short on staff before they run short on beds, a seemingly different reality from expectations in the spring which indicated that capacity would be strained considerably.

Hospitals are currently required to have a 90-day supply of PPE which Cuomo believes will help avoid hospitals from being inundated with patients and not enough simple provisions such as masks. 

As of Monday, the total in hospitals with Covid-19 was 3,532 while the statewide infection rate is about 4.57 percent. There was a total of 54 deaths on Sunday, according to the governor’s office.

This story first appeared on amny.com

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