Gov. Cuomo directs Department of Health to begin implementing ‘surge & flex’ hospital protocol

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ALBANY, NY – APRIL 17: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gives his a press briefing about the coronavirus crisis on April 17, 2020 in Albany, New York.Cuomo along with governors from other East Coast states are extending their shutdown of nonessential businesses to May 15. “We have to continue doing what we’re doing. I’d like to see that infection rate get down even more…”, he said. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Governor Cuomo directed the New York State Department of Health to begin implementing the state’s “surge and flex” protocol and mandates all hospitals begin expanding their bed capacity by 25% to further prepare for a future COVID-19 surge. Hospitals had previously been preparing plans for this action as part of New York’s Winter COVID Plan.

Cuomo also announced that regions that reach critical hospital capacity will be designated as a Red Zone under New York’s micro-cluster strategy. Specifically, following the implementation of the state’s “surge and flex” program, if a region’s 7-day average hospitalization growth rate shows that the region will reach 90% within the next three weeks, the region will become a Red Zone.

Additionally, the Governor issued a call to all retired doctors and nurses urging them to return to service if they are able to do so. A registration will be renewed at no cost for an individual who completes the questionnaire through the volunteer portal, set up by the state Department of Health.

Finally, following updated guidance from the CDC, Cuomo announced that if a region’s hospitalization rate does not stabilize in the next five days, additional restrictions will be applied to indoor dining. If the hospitalization rate does not stabilize in New York City in the next five days, indoor dining will be suspended; if the rate does not stabilize in regions outside New York City, capacity restrictions will be reduced to 25%.

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