ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has released more details of the state’s winter plan to combat the coronavirus.
The plan centers around these main points:
- Continue and Strengthen New York’s Targeted Micro-Cluster Strategy while Managing Hospital Capacity to Enhance and Equalize Care;
- Increase and Balance Testing Resources and Availability;
- Keep Schools Open Safely;
- Prevent Viral Spread from Small Gatherings; and
- Operationalize an Equitable and Safe Vaccination Program
Strategy 1: Manage hospital capacity to enhance and equalize care
- Hospital systems must begin to identify retired nurses and doctors to bolster staff;
- Hospital systems in Erie County must suspend elective surgeries to create new bed capacity for COVID patients;
- Hospital systems must begin balancing patient loads across their individual hospital facilities;
- Prepare plans to utilize emergency field hospitals;
- Prepare plans to increase hospital bed capacity by 50 percent;
- Prepare plans to implement statewide ‘Surge and Flex’ operations (similar to load balancing, but patient shifts would occur across all hospital systems, as opposed to within individual hospital systems)
- Prepare plans to staff emergency field hospitals; and
- Confirm availability of resources in existing stockpiles.
Strategy 2: Increase and balance testing resources and availability
Increase testing availability and ensure distribution is balanced with testing sufficient across different segments of the population, including:
- Healthcare workers
- Nursing homes
- Essential workers
- Business professionals
- Personal services testing
- General population, returning students and travelers, etc.
Strategy 3: Keep schools open safely
Strategy 4: Prevent viral spread from small gatherings
At least 65 percent of COVID cases have resulted from small gatherings. New York has set a limit on gatherings to 10 people.
Strategy 5: Operationalize an equitable and safe vaccination program
Although a vaccine is expected to be released in the coming weeks, it will be months before it’s available to the critical masses. The state’s vaccine distribution will be based on fairness, equity and safety.