Friday, 22 Jan 2021

Gov. Cuomo: NY hospitals close to capacity as COVID-19 cases surge

New York is dangerously close to overwhelming its hospital system with new COVID-19 cases — and preparing to recruit retired doctors and nurses to the front lines again, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

“It’s a new phase in the war against COVID,’’ Cuomo said — adding that daily coronavirus hospitalizations statewide are nearly quadruple what they were in June.

Every hospital in the state must begin compiling a list of retired doctors and nurses that they can draw from because there are already staffing issues in some areas, Cuomo said.

Larger hospital systems such as New York City’s H+H and Northwell also must begin balancing their patient loads — meaning they have to spread people between their sites so one facility isn’t overwhelmed while another has open beds.

“This is a mandate from the state Department of Health: You must distribute patients across your system,’’ Cuomo said.

Hospitals that don’t follow the edict could face malpractice charges from the state, the governor said.

Plans are being drawn up for regional “field hospitals” again, too, Cuomo said.

He said the daily number of hospitalizations in the state in June was around 900 — while that figure has recently soared to 3,500.

Cuomo said 65 percent of new cases now come from “spreader’’ small gatherings.

The governor said that while hospitalizations in New York in the past didn’t all occur everywhere at the same time, so resources could be moved around as needed, “that is not the case this time.

“It is statewide,’’ he said of the current hospitalization crisis. “So we will have a limited ability to bring resources from upstate to downstate as we did int he spring … because literally every region is dealing with a hospital issue now.”

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