Area hospitals trying to manage capacity as COVID-19 cases rise


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — “Now is frankly the time to stop gathering outside our household,” said Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza in a Zoom call Thursday.

After announcing record COVID-19 cases, Mendoza says our hospital capacity right now is stretching ever thinner. Just like back at the start of the pandemic, he’s asking the public to help flatten the curve—again— so hospitals don’t get overwhelmed. 

“The curve refers not just to beds and ventilators in the hospitals, but it refers to the capacity represented by the people: the nurses, the respiratory therapists, and the doctors,” he says.

470 people in the Finger Lakes region are hospitalized with the virus, the highest number to date. In a zoom call Wednesday, Dr. Michael Apostolakos, Strong Memorial Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, says right now they can take care of Covid patients, but they might need to postpone some elective surgeries to make room. 

“It’s a necessary step we are taking now to manage capacity as COVID cases rise,” says Apostolakos.

Dr. Robert Mayo with Rochester Regional Health, says they are right now ‘resource matching’. “So what that means is we shift some of the patients in our hospitals as needed, where beds and resources are available. We sometimes shift staff,” says Mayo.

Mendoza says with this surge having a spike that could be weeks from now, the current way hospitals are doing things could change. “We want to retain capacity in the hospital for non-Covid care and for Covid care,” says Mendoza.

Mendoza says while a vaccine is on the horizon, don’t lose sight of where we are right now: In a deadly pandemic. He’s asking the public to mask up, stay socially distant, and avoid gatherings. 

“If every individual in the county did their little bit of the pie to flatten the curve, we’ll come out on top in the end,” says Mendoza.

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