The key to when Western New York can begin reopening depends on a complicated formula.
We broke down where this region stands on each of the seven criteria laid out by the governor.
The two criteria that seem to be the most achievable have to do with hospitals. At least 30% of all hospital beds and 30% of ICU beds must be available. On both counts, the availability rate stands at over 40% in local hospitals.
Although more than 300 people have died from COVID in Erie County, The daily number is already dropping and must continue for at least a 14 day period.
COVID testing needs to be ramped up but not much higher than it already is. Under state criteria, WNY would have to average about 1,000 tests a day. This week, the region is averaging over 800 tests a day.
This region will need over 400 contact tracers and already has many of them. If needed, NYS could supply more who are being trained at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
But the most difficult hurdle may be bringing down the ratio of new hospitalizations per capita. It needs to be no more than two new hospitalizations per 100,000 residents and lately, it’s been 2.2. It also needs to have a three day average of two or less for 14 days.
So to summarize the seven criteria to begin Phase 1 reopening, WNY gets a green light, so far, on Hospital bed capacity, ICU capacity, and the dropping death rate.
We will need slightly more contact tracers, but that’s considered very achievable. Testing rates are almost where they need to be. New hospitalizations are leveling off. But the 14-day clock can not even begin until that last requirement is met. An average of no more than two new hospitalizations for every 100,000 residents.
That’s why County Executive Mark Poloncarz says it’s possible Erie County could begin Phase 1 of Reopening in late May.