Gov. Cuomo: Can’t prioritize vaccinating police over firefighters, teachers, elderly

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with media Thursday to give an update on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts, and address the violence in Washington D.C.

Capitol chaos

The governor began the conference call by addressing Wednesday’s chaos in Washington D.C. where a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

“People say ‘well President Trump started it yesterday,'” Gov. Cuomo said. “I disagree. President Trump didn’t start it yesterday, President Trump started this four years ago. When you spread hatred, and mistrust, and division — don’t be surprised at the ugliness. This is four years of placing wedges in every crack of society. The story ends the way the story began.

“This is a man who spent four years touching the darker side of humanity — exploiting fear; exploiting fear of people who are different, preying on insecurity — that’s what yesterday was,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It was an explosion of hate that he created over four years. That’s his legacy. That’s his legacy.’

MORE | Schumer, Pelosi call for Trump to be ‘immediately removed from office’

“Even his great conservative allies now turn on him, because it was a universal disgrace for the entire world to see,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Party of law and order? They couldn’t stop thugs from breaking windows and climbing in and vandalizing the nation’s capital? Party of law and order? Law and order, and for hours on TV they couldn’t even stop a crowd of thugs? Think about the great irony. ‘I stand with police.’ It went on four hours. The party of law and order.

“Anyways, in some ways, I think it brings the story to a full and fitting climax,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The American people reject hate, reject violence, reject division — they do it now with one clear voice. That’s what he accomplished: Universal condemnation, which is what he deserved.”

Thursday’s data

The governor provided the following statewide COVID-19 data:

  • Test Results Reported – 238,550
  • Total Positive – 17,636
  • Percent Positive – 7.39%
  • Patient Hospitalization –  8,548 (-117)
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 1,050
  • Hospital Counties – 56
  • Number ICU – 1,424 (+16)
  • Number ICU with Intubation – 859 (-18)
  • Total Discharges – 107,243 (+924)
  • Deaths – 197
  • Total Deaths – 31,164

Yesterday, 238,550 test results were reported to New York State, and 7.39 percent were positive. Each region’s 7-day average percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

Capital Region10.12%10.07%10.04%
Central New York9.13%9.13%8.51%
Finger Lakes10.32%10.29%10.09%
Long Island9.61%9.52%9.51%
Mohawk Valley10.70%10.67%10.38%
New York City6.38%6.39%6.38%
North Country9.19%9.19%8.80%
Southern Tier5.41%5.56%5.55%
Western New York8.61%8.76%8.46%

U.K. strain and hospitalization rate

The governor said concern over the U.K. strain continues, although to date there has still only been one confirmed case of which, discovered earlier this week in Saratoga County.

“We believe there are more,” Gov. Cuomo said Thursday. “It’s very hard to test for that strain of the virus. In the U.K. it took everything three weeks.”

The governor warned that the new strain could impose a greater risk of overwhelming hospital systems across New York state.

“We are continuing to see an increasing hospitalization rate and the red line is overwhelming the hospitalization systems,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The primary problem in hospital capacity right now is staff shortage. It’s not the problem we had in the spring. Nearly all hospitals are reporting staff shortage, primarily nurses.”


The governor reiterated the state’s plan to prioritizing health care workers in regards to vaccination.

“It’s like putting an oxygen mask on yourself first so you can help others,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Protect your health care system, keep your hospitals open, so if you need them, there is a bed and staff to assist you.”

The governor said hospitals have improved “dramatically” since Monday in vaccinating staff.

“From 10,000 vaccinations per day, went to 30,000 Monday, over 30,000 Tuesday, 50,000 Wednesday, and today is going to be in excess of 50,000,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That’s five times the rate they we’re doing.”

The governor said hospital systems who haven’t used their vaccine allocation by Friday would have their supply reallocated, adding that more details on this policy would be announced Friday.

“Overall we don’t have enough dosages for half of the statewide population of health care workers,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We want to get them vaccinated, we owe it to them ethically.”

MORE | Gov. Cuomo: Federal government needs to increase the COVID-19 vaccine supply

The governor said first responders would be eligible in Phase 1b of the vaccination plan, and added that if they are able to organize a plan for self administration that it would help free up pharmacies and doctors for the 75 and older population in the same phase group, but he added that all Phase 2b would be allocated evenly.

“Some local governments said they want to prioritize police, they can’t do that,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Some local governments said ‘well the police are health care workers because they give CPR.’ Every police officer is trained to do CPR. That doesn’t make every police officer a health care worker, that’s just silly. No local government can prioritize one group over another. You can’t prioritize police over firefighters, you can’t prioritize police over teachers, you can’t prioritize police over grandma and grandpa.”

Hospital capacity availability

RegionCOVID Patients Currently in Hospital in RegionCOVID Patients as Percent of Region PopulationPercent of Hospital Beds Currently Available in RegionPercent of Hospital Beds Available Within 7 Days Under Surge Plan
Capital Region4890.05%24%27%
Central New York3950.05%21%27%
Finger Lakes9160.08%30%30%
Long Island15790.06%23%30%
Mohawk Valley3080.06%23%29%
New York City30600.04%30%32%
North Country1020.02%33%52%
Southern Tier2100.03%41%46%
Western New York5380.04%29%29%

The regional ICU bed capacity and occupancy numbers are as follows:

RegionTotal ICU Beds in RegionTotal Occupied ICU Beds in RegionPercent of ICU Beds Available in Region (7-day Avg.)
Capital Region25220717%
Central New York26619026%
Finger Lakes39730524%
Long Island84371419%
Mohawk Valley12710520%
New York City2454188526%
North Country634535%
Southern Tier1278335%
Western New York54335737%
NYS TOTAL25220728%

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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