‘Slow the spread, stop the shutdown’, Cuomo believes hospitals will manage the surge, avoiding a shutdown


ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in New York state on Friday.

On day 291 of the pandemic in New York, the governor provided the following data:

  • 249,385 COVID-19 tests statewide Thursday
  • 5.09% positivity rate overall statewide
  • 6.47% positivity rate in micro-cluster hotspots
  • 4.60% positivity rate outside of micro-cluster hotspots
  • 120 New Yorkers died Tuesday from COVID-19
  • 6,081 hospitalized
  • 1,068 in ICU
  • 592 intubated

Hospitalizations numbers have decreased from reports earlier this week. “Those are good signs,” the governor said.

In the state, the Finger Lakes region continues to have the highest positivity rate with 8.31%.

“Finger Lakes is in red,” Cuomo said. “Finger Lakes has a problem significant problem. So Finger Lakes double the positivity of New York City.”

“Big question? Will we have shutdowns? It’s a question everybody asks me. Nobody can answer that question today. People can have opinions but it is purely up to us because it is a question of future actions. It will be determined by us by what we do over the coming weeks. I do not believe that we are destined to have a shutdown. There is no destiny here. Destiny is what we make.”

In the state’s surge and flex program for the hospitals, a red zone will be designated if that region reaches critical hospital capacity. Critical hospital capacity, defined by the governor’s office, is “if a region’s seven-day average hospitalization growth rate shows that the region will reach 90% within the next three weeks.”

The governor said that per the state’s order, if the hospital systems think they will reach 85% in the next three weeks, they have to warn the state Department of Health.

“If that regional hospital system says were going to hit 85% in three weeks we’ll have a 15% buffer, that’s when we would shut down the economy. No hospital in the state has given that three-week notice. Which means what? Three weeks from today, no hospital in the state believes they’re going to hit 85% by January 8. That’s good news.

I believe hospitals are going to be able to manage this. We learned a lot in the spring, and we’ve had more time to get ready. We’ve gone through this before.”

The governor said he wants New Yorkers to enjoy the holidays, but be smart.

“I believe New Yorkers can do it.”

“The last thing anybody wants is a shutdown, so I’m working as hard as I can and hoping and I believe that we can stay open and we will stay open. We need a new mantra, ‘slow the spread, stop the shutdown.’ It’s that simple focus on that.”

The governor also spoke about the urgency to get the vaccine to the people. The FDA Advisory recommended Moderna, and the New York Task force approved it as well.

In his briefing on Wednesday of this week, the governor talked more about the vaccination program for the state, and how no person in the state will have to pay. In that briefing, the Cuomo also said the University of Rochester Medical Center will oversee the regional plan for vaccinations.

MORE | Gov. Cuomo: COVID-19 vaccine will be free for New Yorkers, URMC to oversee regional plan

URMC will be distributing the 33,650 vaccines — from both Pfizer and Moderna — that are allocated to the Finger Lakes Region. 19,000 New York residents have been vaccinated so far.

“Generations have gone through tough times. Generations have gone through wars, depressions, terrible disease outbreaks,” the governor said.

“Every generation gets its test and it forges that generation and I think we’re going to be the better for it.”

Monroe County Department of Public Health officials reported 729 new COVID-19 cases Thursday. Officials say 736 people in the Finger Lakes region are hospitalized with the virus, including 141 in the ICU.

The latest data said the positivity rate for the Finger Lakes region is 8.2%. “Finger Lakes is a real problem area for the state right now.”

Check back with News 8 WROC as we continue to update this developing story.

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