Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the Finger Lakes region has a ‘significant problem’ as it deals with the highest rate of positivity and hospitalization in New York.
The Finger Lakes led all regions with a positivity rate of 8.31%. The next closest was Central New York, which has a 6.89% rate of positivity. Western New York was in third with a rate of 6.57%.
As for hospitalizations, the Finger Lakes region, which includes Rochester and Monroe County had 746 residents hospitalized per state counts. It’s a number that’s actually likely higher at this point, given that Monroe County reported 736 active hospitalizations late-Thursday alone. Ontario and Wayne counties, which are two of the next largest in the Finger Lakes based on population had 27 and 36 hospitalizations respectively, according to local health department reports.
Central New York had 385 residents hospitalized, which equated to 0.05% of the population. The Southern Tier was the big winner in both categories with low positivity and hospitalization rates.
Addressing the threat of economic shutdown, which he said in a possibility if the state continues on a negative trajectory – the Governor said New Yorkers can bend the curve as they did in the spring. “I don’t not believe that we are destined to have a shutdown,” Governor Cuomo said. “Destiny is what we make it. A shut down is totally avoidable. I believe New Yorkers can slow the spread and hospitals manage the increase.”
Earlier this week Cuomo outlined ‘crisis management’ protocols put in place by hospital administrators. He said that facilities could lose licenses if they do not make necessary moves to keep patients flowing between buildings and ‘load balancing’.
“I believe hospitals are going to be able to handle this,” the Governor added. “No hospital in the state has given notice [that they will reach critical capacity]. No hospital in the state believes they will hit 85% by January 8th.”
As far as the stern and bleak warnings coming from local officials are concerned – Cuomo said he agrees. “Residents must understand the consequences of what’s going on here,” he continued. “Shutdowns are very, very harmful. They hurt a lot of businesses and people. The last thing anyone wants is a shutdown.”
Friday was the first time that the state heard a new catch-phrase to coincide with pandemic response.
“Slow the spread and stop the shutdown,” he recounted multiple times. Whether the Finger Lakes can avoid that is another question entirely.