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Records set for new cases, local hospital systems burdened with staff burnout, shortages even as Omicron proves less potent than Delta

Omicron is proving to be a more mild version of COVID-19. There is still significant stress on the local healthcare system because of Omicron.

The case-to-hospitalization ratio, which has been watched by many throughout the pandemic, is dropping with Omicron. That’s to say, fewer people are being hospitalized now, than were say, six months- or a year ago.

However, doctors in Central New York are warning residents to take the virus seriously, get boosted or vaccinated, and remain vigilant as cases continue to rise at an alarming rate.

“We see lots of positivity out there, but they are at home being treated,” Dr. Katie Friot, Director of Infection Prevention at Rome Health Hospital told CNYCentral. “We have better ways of treating people and keeping them out of the hospital at this point.”

Omicron is producing milder, cold-like symptoms for a lot of people. Primarily those who are vaccinated and protected against COVID-19.

Some studies have also shown that this variant does not attack the lungs the way previous variants did. That means fewer hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

“We have significantly more employees that are quarantined or isolated, significantly more than we had last winter,” said Dr. Michael Scalzone, Guthrie Medical Clinic Executive Vice President, “We have fewer employees because, as you know, people have left the healthcare field.”

That’s the problem, according to experts. Not more patients at the moment, but less staff to deal with an increasingly infectious disease.

Hospitals in Central New York and the Southern Tier have been dealing with this problem head-on. Case numbers are skyrocketing, but hospitalizations are not increasing at the alarming rate some thought they might.

Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss told The Evening Tribune that while significantly more cases have been reported there, and across the Southern Tier- hospitalizations have remained relatively flat.

“Obviously the new variant is prevalent in New York state. This variant doesn’t seem as serious,” Moss said. “We would like to see the numbers go down. In all regions, the numbers are high right now. The hospitalizations are the key factor we keep an eye on. That is trending in the right direction.”

Governor Kathy Hochul said in her most-recent COVID-19 update that people are testing positive at a much higher rate. Around 22% of those who take a COVID-19 test have tested positive for the last week or so.

In the Finger Lakes region, both Cayuga and Wayne counties have reported records in numbers of cases. In Wayne, more than a quarter of all cases confirmed have been in children since students returned to school.

Categories: HealthNews