Local hospitals brace for COVID patient surge, possibility of red zone

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Governor Cuomo has asked hospitals to increase capacity by 25% and there is a new formula that will determine whether WNY falls into a Red Zone.

If the seven-day hospitalization rate is rising at a rate to reach 90% within the next three weeks , then that region goes red. This week, WNY as a region is at 72% hospital capacity but ECMC is 92% filled.

“ We need all the help we can get. We’re preparing for the worst. If we were to increase 50% we would be stretched but we could handle that. Beyond that, we’re gonna additional help from the state from retired clinicians from Albany that we could get help from because the systems gonna be very very taxed,” said Thomas Quatroche- ECMC President & CEO.

Kaleida Health is considering doubling up patients in private rooms and reopening beds at the former DeGraff Hospital as they did last spring. Marty Boryszak-Sr. VP at Catholic Health says they will continue to use the former Absolut Care facility in Orchard Park as a place for Covid patients to recover before going home.

“Through this entire first wave and second wave, our front line staff has been through a lot.”

Boryszak says there is something the general population can do for hospital workers.

“Follow the guidelines from an infection control perspective. The social distancing. We understand that people are tired of the situation but just keep in mind that the hospitalization the uptick in positivity in the community, it really does have a downstream impact on our front line, so anything we can do to help take some of the pressure off them will be important.”

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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