Governor Andrew Cuomo is implementing a new plan to combat a projected increase of covid cases during the holiday season.

He says the top focus is managing hospitalizations. Upstate University Hospital is doing their best to monitor cases and capacity to avoid getting overwhelmed.

What You Need To Know

  • Upstate University Hopsital had 83 covid patients on Monday whereas they had 40 covid patients in the peak of the spring

  • Upstate is already working on monitoring their case loads and postponing elected surgeries if necessary

  • They have also begun to balance patients between Upstate University Hospital downtown and Community General, something the Governor says will be mandated if cases worsen

“We’ve already postponed elective surgeries and we’re constantly monitoring every day,” said Upstate University Hospital CEO Robert Corona.  “We look at what’s upcoming, how many beds do we have, how much staff do we have, how much PPE do we have and we make the decision day by day. The environment changes every day.”

On Monday, Governor Cuomo laid out a 5-point strategy plan for the winter months. He said small gatherings are currently the number one source of transmission and although spread that occurred during thanksgiving won’t be reflected in the case numbers for about a week, Upstate University Hospital is already seeing an increase in cases.

“The numbers are much higher; double what they were in the spring. Our staff is dwindling. They are exhausted and were having to do a lot more with less staff,” said Corona.

On Monday, they had 83 patients, which is more than double the number of patients they had in the peak at the beginning of the pandemic.  Cuomo said the Department of Health will initiate emergency procedures next week, one of them being for hospitals to identify retired staff, something Upstate is working on.

“We are pulling in people. For instance, we are pulling in residents from other specialties outside internal medicine, which usually take care of our patients, and trying to extend them. So, we would have an expert in internal medicine maybe oversee residents in other specialists like some of the surgeries or psychiatry, or some of the other areas. We are trying to find retired nurses and doctors although it’s difficult to get them. Many of them are in a vulnerable age group so it’s difficult to ask them to take care of covid patients,” said Corona.

The governor also said that hospitalization data will now be a metric of yellow, orange, and red zone designations. If cases get worse, the state will also look to balance caseloads by moving patients from one hospital to another.

“We’re already looking at that stuff. The advantage we had is we have a big research team that can look at certain statistics and then model out what we think capacity issues will be in the future.  We try to adjust our hospital surgeries and staffing based on the numbers we get from our team,” said Corona.

Cuomo believes cases will continue to climb until mid-January if people don't change their behaviors.