NY still faces challenges responding to COVID-19

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New York State is up to more than 37,000 and more than 5,000 of those people are hospitalized.

The vast majority of confirmed cases are downstate, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his administration is working on a plan for potentially distributing the load of patients down the line.

“We’re working on a collaboration where we distribute the load between downstate hospitals and upstate hospitals, and we’re also working on increasing the capacity for upstate hospitals,” he said.

However, he said that would only be resorted to as the last option.

“I’m not eager to redistribute people from downstate to upstate,” he said. “There are just practical consequences. The family would have to travel further to visit them, etc.”

Cuomo said the state is continuing to shop for personal protective equipment, or PPE, because it is an “ongoing issue.”

“We do have enough PPE for the immediate future,” he said. “The NYC hospital system confirmed that. So we have enough in stock now for the immediate need.”

When asked about reports of a lack of PPE in Western New York, he had this to say:

“Any hospital anywhere, whatever we have, we’ll distribute. And we distribute it on an as-needed basis. So if you say we need it in a week and a half, frankly, we’re dealing with hospitals that need it tomorrow and the day after. That’s the kind of time frame we’re dealing with.”

 He was also asked when more testing kits could be coming Upstate.

“Hospitals tend to like to have supplies for a long period of time, which I understand, so they want to have a one-month supply, a three-week supply,” he said. “We don’t have that ability. If we can provide a few days supply, that’s what we’re looking at, which makes them uncomfortable. I understand.”

Cuomo said the Department of Health can provide the kits to hospitals that need supplies immediately. He also said there are mobile testing units if there’s a person who needs a test and a hospital doesn’t have supplies.

And when it comes to ventilators, the Governor said the state is working on converting anesthesia machines into ventilators.

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