There are 538 people hospitalized for Covid-19 on Long Island, more than triple from three weeks ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press briefing today.
Long Island had 172 Covid-19 hospitalizations three weeks ago. The upward trend in hospitalizations is occurring statewide as cases have been rising in all regions since last month.
“First time around, we had a New York City, downstate, Long Island, Westchester problem,” Cuomo said. “That was actually beneficial in a way because we could bring resources from upstate to help downstate. We don’t have that option here.”
Today, County Executive Laura Curran said there are 274 Covid-19 patients in the county’s 11 hospitals — 36 in ICU and 25 on ventilators. Yesterday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said there were 238 Covid-19 patients in its hospitals, with 46 in ICU.
Earlier this week, Curran and Bellone joined Cuomo’s press briefing via Zoom as he spoke about a statewide plan for managing hospital loads. The state’s cluster zone system, which determines the yellow, orange, and red areas, will now be based on hospitalization rate, death rate, case rate, available hospital beds, available ICU beds, available staff, PPE, and equipment availability.
All hospitals must identify retired nurses and doctors who they could call back should they need to combat staff shortages, Cuomo said. Emergency field hospitals, including the ones at SUNY Old Westbury and Stony Brook, must secure staffing and prepare for Covid-19 patients in the event of a surge, and all hospitals must plan to add 50 percent capacity.
Individual hospital systems, such as Northwell Health, must balance patients among its hospitals. In addition, all hospitals should be prepared to implement statewide “surge and flex,” which distributes the load of patients among all hospitals.
“We lived this nightmare, we learned from this nightmare,” Cuomo said, “and we’re going to correct for the lessons we learned during this nightmare.”