Hochul addresses rising COVID-19 metrics

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WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul says the state has not identified any coronavirus hot spots in Western New York, despite a rising number of cases.

“We have not identified any particular isolated hot spot,” she told the media in Williamsville Friday. “That’s what we saw more downstate.”

Data released by the state on Saturday shows that as of Friday, the Western New York region, which includes Niagara, Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany Counties, had 10.27 new daily COVID cases per 100,000 residents on a 7-day rolling average. That metric hasn’t been that high since early May.

Statewide, there have been 9.98 new cases per 100,000 residents. For context, the threshold to qualify for New York State’s travel advisory was 10. The state announced they were modifying the travel advisory on Saturday.

“Our numbers are creeping up,” admitted Hochul. “But we are at a very vulnerable time.”

The number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations is also rising. On Wednesday, 94 COVID patients were in the hospital. It was the highest that number had been since June 10th. The number dropped to 87 on Thursday, and 86 on Friday.

“We know we have tremendous capacity to ramp up our hospital capacity,” Hochul said. “We have done this before. We were all ready this spring if we had a surge in hospitalizations.. We are nowhere near capacity at all.”

Hochul also touched on the situation at Bills Stadium. One month ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he planned to visit the stadium as the state mulled whether to allow fans in during games. To date, that visit hasn’t happened, and the state has yet to give approval. Hochul said that approval isn’t necessarily contingent on Cuomo visiting.

“The determination does not hinge necessarily on whether the governor can make it here,” she said. “He’s actually sending out his teams around elsewhere, his staff elsewhere and talking to the medical experts,” Hochul said.

She added Cuomo may still tour the stadium at some point. On Saturday, Cuomo said the visit still has not been scheduled.

“The stadium is also a consequence of the overall situation in Western New York,” Cuomo said. “We’re working very hard to get the rate in Western New York down.”

Chris Horvatits is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of his work here.

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