Cuomo says COVID shutdown ‘avoidable’ as de Blasio warns of post-Christmas closure
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo tried to put forth a positive spin despite the state’s rising-again COVID-19 Friday, saying another New York shutdown is “avoidable” — a day after Mayor de Blasio said a fresh lockdown could come right after Christmas.
“A shutdown is totally avoidable. Totally,” Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany. “I believe New Yorkers can slow the spread and that hospitals can manage the increase.”
The governor tried to dial back the doom and gloom after de Blasio on Thursday flagged troubling infection and hospitalization rates, all but saying a shutdown was inevitable.
“We’ll keep working with the state, they make the final decision, but I think it’s something that has to be put into effect soon based on the very consistent information we’re seeing,” de Blasio said.
“Certainly right after Christmas is a natural moment when the world kind of slows down a little bit.”
Cuomo said that while the statewide positive rate is at 5.09 percent, hospitalizations and ICU numbers dropped to 3,081 and 1,068, respectively, according to state data.
“Those are good signs,” he said.
The city, which uses different parameters, on Friday recorded a 6.16 percent infection rate over a seven-day average, up from 6 percent a day earlier, the first time since May the city had hit such a high rate.
The state Health Department, meanwhile, issued a new directive to all hospitals this week requiring them to give three weeks’ notice if they expect o hit 85 percent capacity.
Cuomo on Friday said that so far, no hospital has triggered the warning.
“That’s good news, because you have no hospital in the state saying they think they’re gonna hit 85 percent of their maximum by Jan. 8,” he said.
“I believe hospitals are going to be able to manage this,” he added. “We learned a lot in the spring, they worked together for the first time ever — with that collegiality and that operational facilitation in the spring — and frankly, we’ve had more time to get ready and we’ve had more preparation now.”
About 31,000 beds are currently available at hospitals in downstate New York — including two of the areas largest systems, New York City Health + Hospitals and Northwell Health.
Statewide, about 50,000 beds are available.
Earlier this month, hospitals were directed to add 25 percent capacity and cancel elective surgeries.
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