Many hospitals are cleared to perform elective surgeries again

Photo courtesy of the Governor’s Office

Hospitals in 35 counties across the state will soon be cleared to perform elective surgeries in areas where the coronavirus outbreak has leveled out, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week. 

Hospitals in Dutchess, Essex, Oswego and Saratoga counties are among the counties that are eligible for elective surgeries. However, individual hospitals in these areas may be barred from reopening if they don’t have an adequate surplus of available beds. 

To reopen, at least 30 percent of hospital beds must still be available even after elective surgeries resume. Additionally, 30 percent of ICU beds must also be available after elective surgeries resume. There must be no significant increase in hospitalizations for two weeks and the rate of transmission of COVID-19 must be below 1.1.

The counties now eligible are: Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chenango, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Madison, Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Putnam, Saratoga, Schoharie, Schuyler, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Sullivan, Tompkins, Ulster, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates.

Over the past few days, the total of hospitalizations, net change in intubations and net change in hospitalizations were all trending downward, with the new COVID hospitalizations remaining almost flat. 

Last week, Cuomo announced that New York’s goal was to perform 40,000 tests each day. The current test capacity on average is 30,000 tests per day. 

“We have been very aggressive in testing, we have made great progress and New Yorkers should feel proud about that, but we have more to do,” Cuomo said.

The state has begun testing frontline workers for coronavirus antibodies. The preliminary findings show that 17.1 percent of the FDNY/EMT,  and 10.5 percent of NYPD officers have tested positive for having antibodies. Further analysis will be conducted to determine the racial and gender breakdown.

Transit workers will also begin to be tested, with an initial 1,000 tests to be administered this week. This comes after scrutiny by many who believe that the subways should not open.

“Without those buses and subways, the essential workers couldn’t get to work,” said Cuomo. “You close the buses and subways in New York City, don’t expect the doctors to be able to get to the hospital. Don’t expect the delivery worker to be able to deliver food when you ring on your telephone.”

The governor also spoke about the MTA, asking for a full plan on how to disinfect every train every night. 

“Any essential worker that shows up and gets on a train should know that that train was disinfected the night before,” said Cuomo. 

The governor continued to criticize U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky after McConnel suggested that New York should declare bankruptcy, rather than receive funding from the federal government. 

Gov. Cuomo was quick to point out that New York state pays into the federal government $29 billion more annually to the federal government than it gets back. In comparison, Sen. McConnell’s Kentucky takes out $37 million more every year than they pay to the federal government, Cuomo said.

The governor ended his conference by unveiling a mural made up of hundreds of donated masks that were sent to his office from people all across the country. He called it a “self-portrait of America.”

“We received thousands of masks from all across America, unsolicited, in the mail, homemade, creative, personal with beautiful notes from all across the country,” Cuomo said. “This is what this country is about, and this is what Americans are about. A little bit more of this, and a little bit less of the ugliness and the partisanship and this country will be a better place.”