ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a change to New York state’s COVID-19 micro-cluster zone designation strategy during a briefing in New York City Monday.
Whereas previous zone designations were based on seven-day rolling average positivity rates in a specific area, and new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, the new format dictates a red zone designation based on a region’s “critical hospital capacity.”
The governor announced that regions that reach critical hospital capacity will be designated as a red zone. In this definition, critical hospital capacity is “if a region’s seven-day average hospitalization growth rate shows that the region will reach 90% within the next three weeks,” according to the governor’s office.
A red-zone designation would put restrictions in place similar to the NY PAUSE shutdown from the spring, when all non-essential businesses were closed. Under current guidelines, red zone restrictions would include:
- Non-essential gatherings prohibited
- Less than 25% capacity, or 10 person maximum, for religious worship services
- All non-essential business are closed
- Takeout or delivery only for dining
- Schools closed, remote-only instruction
This designation policy goes into effect after the implementation of the state’s new “surge and flex” program.
The state’s “surge and flex” protocol mandates all hospitals begin expanding their bed capacity by 25%, to further prepare hospitals for a future COVID-19 surge. Hospitals had previously been preparing plans for this action as part of the governor’s winter COVID Plan.
Additionally, Gov. Cuomo issued a call to all retired doctors and nurses urging them to return to service if they are able to do so. A registration will be renewed at no cost for an individual who completes the questionnaire through the volunteer portal, set up by the New York State Department of Health.
“Right now, the data is showing us that the highest percent of hospitalization is actually Upstate: Finger Lakes, that’s Monroe, Rochester area,” Gov. Cuomo said Monday. “Buffalo, Western New York, Central New York. You come down to New York City, Long Island, we actually have a lower rate hospitalized than upstate, which is an exact flip of where we were in the spring. In the spring, we had a largely downstate situation and upstate the situation was much better.”
According to the governor’s office, the Finger Lakes region has the highest percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations versus regional population, but more hospital beds currently available, thanks to larger hospital capacity than other regions.
Per the aforementioned 90% critical hospital capacity, the Finger Lakes region would have to be on track to lower hospital capacity by 20% for the red zone designation to be initiated.
|Region||COVID Patients Currently in Hospital in Region||COVID Hospitalizations as Percent of Region Population||Percent of Hospital Beds Available in Region|
|Central New York||296||0.04%||26%|
|Rochester & Finger Lakes||545||0.05%||30%|
|New York City||1416||0.02%||19%|
|Western New York||487||0.04%||28%|
The regional ICU bed capacity and occupancy numbers are as follows:
|Region||Total ICU Beds in Region||Total Occupied ICU Beds in Region||Percent of ICU Beds Available in Region|
|Central New York||290||189||33%|
|Rochester & Finger Lakes||659||246||62%|
|New York City||2290||1687||27%|
|Western New York||559||293||50%|
Monday’s statewide COVID-19 data is summarized briefly below:
- Patient Hospitalization – 4,602 (+160)
- Patients Newly Admitted – 530
- Hospital Counties – 55
- Number ICU – 872 (+22)
- Number ICU with Intubation – 477 (+13)
- Total Discharges – 88,263 (+314)
- Deaths – 80
- Total Deaths – 27,232
Each region’s seven-day average percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:
|Central New York||5.48%||5.19%||5.55%|
|New York City||3.99%||4.01%||4.04%|
|Western New York||7.44%||7.40%||7.34%|