The rates of COVID-19 cases increased from 1.08% in June to 3.55% in November. As a result, the “hospitalization rate increasing dramatically” said the governor. The number of New Yorkers hospitalized due to the virus was 3,532 as of November 29, up from 891 on June 29.
“This, my friends, is the problem. We are seeing the rise of hospitalizations all across the state. It is not a situation when it is only happening in one part of the state and then we can shift resources from one part of the state to the other…That is not the case, it is statewide so will have a limited ability to bring resources from upstate to downstate like we did in the spring” or vice versa, said Gov. Cuomo.
Additionally, the governor said his administration is currently “worried about overwhelming the hospital system” as the number of COVID-19 cases is expected to continue to increase this holiday season when people gather to celebrate with their families.
New York’s five strategies to fight COVID-19 this winter
To combat COVID-19 this winter, New York will implement five target strategies including:
- Continuing and strengthening New York’s targeted micro-cluster strategy while managing hospital capacity to enhance and equalize care
Under this new and improved strategy, the New York State Department of Health will identify targeted areas with high infection rates, implement more restrictions to reduce the spread of viral infections in the micro-cluster area, and utilize additional, hospital-related metrics to provide a clearer picture of where a particular zone stands in the battle against the virus. The department will also start implementing emergency hospital measures to prepare the state’s hospital system for an expected surge in hospitalizations.
- Increasing and balancing testing resources and ability
Gov. Cuomo’s administration will take steps to increase the amount of testing available statewide. It will ensure that the distribution of testing is balanced and sufficient across the different segments of the state’s population from health care workers, essential workers, nursing homes, business professionals down to the general public.
- Keeping schools open safely
New York State’s schools will remain open as long the infection rate in a school is under control. Under the Winter Plan, the state will focus on keeping K-8 and Special Education schools open and will do safely by establishing sustainable and ongoing testing of students for COVID-19.
- Preventing viral spreads from small gatherings
Gov. Cuomo is encouraging New Yorkers to remember that COVID is the Grinch this holiday season and to observe behavioral shifts to prevent the spread of the virus. The state is limiting gatherings to less than 10 people and urging people to wear masks.