Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday that New York is just days away from a second lockdown if coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise during the holiday season.
“If you go over the capacity of the hospital, you’ll have to start shutting down again,” Cuomo said at a press conference Monday in New York City. “There are no options.”
Hospitalizations across the Empire State skyrocketed last month after freezing temperatures forced residents inside and New Yorkers flocked for the holidays despite warnings from health officials.
Cuomo previously closed indoor restaurants in the state’s red and orange coronavirus cluster areas. But to fight the new wave, Cuomo has revealed a series of restrictive new warrants that could go into effect as early as Friday.
The governor said if hospitalization rates across the Empire State do not stabilize within the next five days, dining halls will have a 25% occupancy limit statewide and will be fully closed at New York. And if cases continue to skyrocket, Cuomo said the state would shut down areas that have seven-day COVID-19 case averages indicating “critical hospital capacity” within three weeks. The plan is similar to that in California, where a new stay-at-home order went into effect Sunday for Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley, after the intensive care unit’s capacity fell in below 15 percent.
“If your seven-day average shows that within 3 weeks you will reach critical hospital capacity, we shut you down. So a little complicated, ”Cuomo said, adding that he doesn’t expect the numbers to stabilize anytime soon. “Overwhelming the hospital system means people are dying on a stretcher in a hallway.”
To relieve state medical facilities already plagued by COVID-19, Cuomo on Monday ordered hospitals to increase bed capacity by 25%. He added that there is no single hospitalization rate threshold that will trigger these shutdowns.
“Stabilization is stabilization,” the governor said. “Where you are now – stabilize instead of going up. If your hospitalization rate is 4 percent, instead of going from four to five, you need to stay at four and stabilize yourself. At the moment, it is increasing.
New York, which now has a 34.79% positivity test rate, reported 80 overnight COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 34,552. On Monday, the state reported 4,602 hospitalizations in total, its highest total since May 22.
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Cuomo’s press conference that the holiday season is likely to bring another wave of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The White House coronavirus task force member added that officials still don’t know the full impact of Thanksgiving on COVID-19 cases across the country – where new records of deaths and hospitalizations newspapers are destroyed daily.
“The problem is, it’s going to happen until the potential Christmas / Hanukkah surge begins – so you’ve got a surge wave and before you can handle that, more people are going to travel on Christmas, they’re going to have. more of those family and friend gatherings, ”Fauci said. “If those two things happen and we don’t ease off well, we might start to see things really start to deteriorate in mid-January. Without substantial mitigation measures mid-January can be a very dark time for us. “
On the bright side, Fauci noted that New Yorkers could start receiving the coronavirus vaccine as early as April – after healthcare workers, nursing home residents and other high priority residents. If all goes according to plan, Fauci estimated the country could be in “good shape” by the third quarter of 2021.
For now, New York’s restrictions will depend on how hospitals handle the influx of cases. On Monday, the governor called on all retired doctors and nurses in the state to return to service and said the state will cover any fees necessary for their re-enrollment.
“Ultimately for us, I see this as hospital capacity versus critical mass of immunization,” Cuomo said at the meeting. “I think that’s the end result. Can your hospitals handle the increase until you start to see a reduction in immunization? … Do everything to slow the spread and at the same time speed up the vaccines.
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