What there is to know
- Hospitalizations in New York topped 3,500 over the weekend, an alarming volume not seen since May; Governor Cuomo warns state could go back on ‘PAUSE’ if hospitals are overwhelmed
- It revealed a five-point winter COVID strategy that focuses on building the capacity of hospitals, keeping schools open, testing and other measures as the state battles its worst viral increases in months
- Schools in New York City will reopen in person to kindergarten and elementary students next week after a two-week shutdown; improved testing will be essential to keep them open. Older students won’t be coming back until next year
Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned Monday that “the valve no longer controls the spread,” effectively conceding that the throttling of indoor dining, gyms and other indoor activities statewide has limited impact, 65 % of all new COVID cases in New York City attributed to small household gatherings.
Instead, it is focusing on keeping schools open and building hospital capacity as the state braces for the dreaded post-Thanksgiving effect that officials have warned for months. Any vacation wave would worsen what has already become a resurgence, with new cases increasing six-fold in the past month or so. They are approaching 7,000 a day in New York, compared to 10,000 at the height of the crisis.
The total number of hospitalizations has also tripled – and although these rates and the number of deaths are still extremely lower than they were at the height of the pandemic last spring, both metrics have increased steadily as the cases have increased. They topped 3,500 over the weekend, an alarming volume not seen in New York since May. What the state cannot do, the governor stressed on Monday, is swap health care resources between hospitals in the north and the bottom of the state if all regions are on alert.
“Literally every region is facing a hospital problem now,” Cuomo said Monday as he triggered new emergency hospital procedures statewide as part of his new five-point winter strategy to harden weak spots. “We’re going to have a problem in the hospitals, I’m telling you now. It’s going to be a serious situation.
Hospitals are key to New York’s success in tackling the current spike in the spread of coronaviruses, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday when he initiated statewide hospital emergency procedures as part of its new five-point winter strategy to strengthen the weak points of the state. Reports by Ida Siegal of NBC New York.
Priority # 1 is to ensure sufficient hospital capacity to treat all patients – and if hospitals are overwhelmed, Cuomo said the state could go back on “PAUSE.” He ordered hospitals to identify retired doctors and nurses to return to the front lines, confirm a 90-day stockpile of PPE and increase bed capacity by 50%. Elective surgeries will be halted in areas if necessary, starting with Eric County on Friday.
Hospital mailmen will become a focal point of Cuomo’s micro-cluster designations. The governor said new measures would notify the red, yellow and orange zones based on hospital availability and demand. He said the state is waiting to examine the “post-Thanksgiving effect” before finalizing these measures, which will be tracked on a new State Department of Health dashboard.
Many experts fear that the post-Thanksgiving effect will dramatically worsen an already dire situation. Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said travel and people letting their guard down will spike in addition to an already intense surge.
“As we go for the next two weeks in December… we might see a surge superimposed on this wave we’re already in,” Fauci said Monday.
Daily percentage of positive tests by New York region
Governor Andrew Cuomo divides the state into 10 regions for testing and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hot spots. Here is the latest monitoring data by region and for the five boroughs. For the latest county-wide statewide results, click here
In addition to strengthening hospitals, Cuomo’s winter plan calls for improved testing and a priority for keeping schools open, among other measures.
The two are mutually dependent on the nation’s largest public school system, which will reopen in person next week for pre-K and elementary school students after a two-week shutdown triggered by the mayor’s controversial positivity rate threshold. Bill de Blasio. As part of the phased reopening in person approach, de Blasio will phase out blended learning for these young students. Schools that can can revert to a five-day-a-week schedule for elementary school children as early as next week. Weekly COVID testing will be in effect for students and staff when they do.
However, middle and high school students won’t be back in a classroom until next year, as the city tweaks its testing resources and other approaches in a bid to keep in-person learning open as well. long and safely as possible.
A federal stimulus package would help school affairs and beyond, de Blasio said. Across the river, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy agrees. It recently limited indoor dining times and banned bar seating, dealing another blow to struggling restaurants and their staff. On Monday, he imposed new limits on outdoor gathering sizes for the second time in two weeks, saying they will be capped at 25 from December 7. Until recently, this capacity cap was 500.
Murphy also announced an impending ban on indoor youth and school sports for the remainder of the year, as the state battles a steadily increasing rate of COVID-19 infections and many other major vacations remain at come.
The New Jersey Department of Health is advising residents against all year-end holidays with non-immediate household members for the rest of the year, as it did before Thanksgiving. Now even visits to Santa Claus should also be done remotely.
“If malls offer in-person tours, they should be socially distant and reserved. Children shouldn’t sit on Santa’s lap, ”Murphy said.