Elective surgeries permitted to continue in Erie County

Erie County

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Western New York is starting to see its hospitalization numbers decrease, largely due to getting past the holiday season spike in COVID-19 cases.

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Cuomo came to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo to give an update on the pandemic and make an announcement.

The Governor is looking to begin lightening some of the restrictions seen across the state as conditions improve, but only under the caveat that reduced restrictions don’t lead to greater spreading of the virus.

As fall began, COVID-related hospitalizations started to increase again, becoming a top concern of the state. Early in December, elective surgeries were no longer allowed in Erie County hospitals — the county Gov. Cuomo said had the “most critical hospital situation in the state.”

During Monday’s visit to western New York, Gov. Cuomo announced that elective surgeries were officially permitted to continue in Erie County.

The latest numbers show that western New York hospitals have 409 patients being treated for COVID-19.

72 percent of health care workers across the state have been vaccinated for COVID-19, and 88 percent of Roswell Park’s employees have received a vaccine.

In the coming days, the Governor plans to release more details on how the state plans to lessen restrictions.

New York’s overall positivity rate for COVID-19 is 5.47 percent. Western New York’s rate is slightly higher, at 5.7 percent.

As a result of the virus, 167 people died on Sunday.

“Earlier today, due to improving conditions related to the pandemic in our region, Governor Cuomo announced that elective surgeries can resume in Western New York. On behalf of our patients, we thank the Governor for this decision and we will continue to ensure all safety precautions are met. Patients are being called to be rescheduled as soon as possible. We know that compliance with recommended actions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus has contributed to the improved circumstances in Western New York and we urge everyone to continue to wear a mask, maintain social distancing and perform regular hand hygiene.”


“On behalf of the entire Kaleida Health workforce and the patients that we serve, we want to thank Governor Cuomo for today’s announcement about the resumption of elective surgeries in Erie County.  This will undoubtedly have a positive impact on patient care and outcomes, not to mention our operations and our overall financial position.”

“The pandemic has had a catastrophic impact on the health care delivery system here in Buffalo, Western New York and across New York State.  COVID-19 has also put tremendous stress on thousands of patients who have had to put their health on hold as we battled this crisis together.  We are most happy for these patients, who can now receive the world-class health care that our employees and physicians are known for.  The dedication and efforts of our front line workforce have been nothing short of heroic this past year.”

Robert Nesselbush, CEO of Kaleida Health

The resumption of elective surgeries is good news for patients throughout Western New York. Catholic Health has been meeting with our surgical chiefs and chairs throughout this latest suspension to plan for the eventual resumption of elective cases. We have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow to kick off our plan to resume elective surgeries quickly and safely. Our surgeons will be reaching out to patients in the coming days to schedule their procedures and pre-op testing, which includes a COVID test. Because of the testing required prior to surgery, it make take several days for the elective cases to begin. Fortunately, we have the necessary processes and procedures in place from when we resumed elective surgeries in the spring and expect this to be a smooth transition for our surgeons and patients.

Eddie Bratko, President of Mercy Hospital of Buffalo Regarding the Resumption of Elective Surgeries in Catholic Health

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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