New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that state will begin using hospitalizations as a main metric to determine cluster zones and closures across the state
Hospitalization rates are increasing across the state, Cuomo said, adding that "every region is dealing with a hospital issue now," and that capacity is the top concern.
“We are now worried about overwhelming the hospital system," Cuomo said.
The governor said he is talking to hospital administrators across the state.
"We want to know where they are today with their capacity, with their PPE, et cetera," Cuomo said. "We learned this lesson the hard way. We have about 54,000 hospital beds in this state, we were told we would need about 120,000. We lived this nightmare. We learned from this nightmare, and we're going to correct for the lessons we learned during this nightmare."
"We're not going to live through the nightmare of overwhelmed hospitals again," he later said.
New York state has a 4.5% positivity rate currently, Cuomo said.
In addition to using hospitalizations as a main metric to trigger zone designations and closures, Cuomo also outlined four additional strategies the state will employ to combat the spread of Covid-19: increasing testing across the state, working towards vaccine distributions, keeping schools open safely and keeping the 10 person limit on private gatherings that the governor announced earlier in the fall.
Cuomo said that the goal was to keep K-8 schools open wherever it was safe. The state will implement testing on a weekly basis for schools in orange and red zones.
He also emphasized the importance of having a balanced distribution of testing among various groups — health care workers, school workers and the general traveling population.
On the vaccine, he said that delivery could start in the next few weeks, and that he is working with fellow governors on distribution plans, but noting that widespread distribution will likely not occur until "late spring or early summer." He noted that the state will be doing outreach to Black and brown communities, as well as lower income communities.