Hospitals get 1 week to vaccinate staff before supply reallocated to those with comorbidities

State News

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 08: New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on September 08, 2020 in New York City. Cuomo, though easing restrictions on casinos and malls throughout the state, has declined to do so for indoor dining in restaurants in New York City despite pressure from business owners, citing struggles by the city to enforce the state’s previous orders. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a briefing Friday, day 322 of the pandemic, to update New Yorkers on the latest coronavirus response. During the briefing, he said that in one week, vaccine dosages that had been set aside for hospital workers will be reallocated for patients with underlying conditions and comorbidities.

Cuomo said that frontline workers are more exposed to COVID than anybody else—”Everybody knows that,” he said—and that, statewide, hospital staff have reached a healthy 75% vaccination rate. In order to prevent a staffing shortage that could shut down hospitals, those workers were prioritized in group 1a.

Still, some of those staff have opted against getting the vaccine. According to the governor, with about two million doses already administered, hospital staff no longer should be worried about being vaccine test subjects. With that in mind, Cuomo said that hospitals have one more week to use vaccine supply specifically earmarked for their staff. After February 15, those doses will be reallocated for patients with comorbidities.

“We do not have a supply that can reach everyone. We understand that. So the prioritization is to reach those people who are most at risk or most essential,” Cuomo said. Cuomo said that underlying conditions, preexisting conditions, and age are the major factors in COVID mortalities, and that 94% of deaths were individuals those comorbidities.

The governor urged local health departments to prepare for this shift. He said that his administration is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to finalize a comorbidities list. “We’re basically going to follow the CDC guidance,” Cuomo said, as they already have a basic list. Still, he said, “Some items on the list raise questions for the health professionals, and that’s what we’re working through.”

On the numbers, Cuomo gave provided the following information:

  • Test Results Reported – 203,627
  • Total Positive – 8,777
  • Percent Positive – 4.31%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive – 4.67%
  • Patient Hospitalization – 7,937 (-30)
  • Net Change Patient Hospitalization Past Week – -420
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 1,022
  • Hospital Counties – 57
  • Number ICU – 1,516 (+10)
  • Number ICU with Intubation – 1,000 (+14)
  • Total Discharges – 131,165 (+863)
  • Deaths – 153
  • Total Deaths – 35,920

On vaccinations, Cuomo said, “This is where we want to be. We want to use everything that we’ve received and get it into peoples’ arms as soon as possible.” He said vaccine equity remains a concern in a climate with rampant vaccine hesitancy—which includes skepticism in its effectiveness, fear of unknown side effects, and distrust of the government and the health care industry as a whole. “The hesitancy must be directly addressed with facts and validation,” Cuomo said while calling on leaders in Black communities to help communicate the message.

The governor came with stats about demographics. The images below help paint a picture of the demographics of the individuals who have already been vaccinated:

For part of the briefing, Cuomo welcomed New Jersey’s Gov. Phil Murphy. He praised the partnership between the states, saying, “That partnership has saved lives without question on both sides of the Hudson.” Murphy was there to support Cuomo’s call for a fair allocation of local and state aid from the federal government. He echoed the sentiment that the Tri-state area—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut—have paid disproportionately more than states in other parts of the country.

Cuomo also invited Randy Levine, Aaron Boone, and Mariano Rivera of the Yankees to talk about the newly opened vaccination site at Yankee Stadium. “I used to pitch here and save games. Now we’re here saving lives,” Rivera said.

Cuomo said that a priority is setting up mass vaccination sites in high positivity areas in Black and Latino communities. Yankee Stadium, in the Bronx, is only available to residents of that borough, which has persistently shown some of the highest positivity rates in New York City.

On the potential vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which presents the possibility of 100,000 doses by June, Cuomo said: “It’s a game-changer. It’s a single dose, not two doses.” He said that change represents a huge logistical difference. He also pointed out that their vaccine requires conventional refrigeration, rather than the significant cold storage, “that most facilities don’t have” and that the Pfizer vaccine requires.

The governor also discussed variants of interest, saying 59 cases of the U.K. strain had been identified in New York so far:

“The U.K. strain is reportedly up to 70% more transmittable. That is a frightening thought. So, we’re watching it closely. CDC is watching it, other countries are watching. But we do now have 59 cases. This is where they are. It’s all throughout the state, and it’s something that we are watching,” he said. Although he warned that a new strain is more contagious, more lethal, or resistant to the vaccine could threaten the state’s progress combatting the vaccine. However, Cuomo said, “We deal with the here and now.”

RegionCOVID Patients Currently in Hospital in RegionCOVID Patients as Percent of Region PopulationPercent of Hospital Beds Available Within 7 Days Under Surge Plan
Capital Region3740.03%27%
Central New York1820.02%32%
Finger Lakes4830.04%36%
Long Island1,3820.05%32%
Mid-Hudson9190.04%43%
Mohawk Valley1990.04%31%
New York City3,6980.04%31%
North Country910.02%53%
Southern Tier2320.04%43%
Western New York3770.03%36%
Statewide7,9370.04%34%

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 Region24721815%
Central New York26218729%
Finger Lakes39728128%
Long Island86767921%
Mid-Hudson68840741%
Mohawk Valley1319925%
New York City2,6072,10821%
North Country603939%
Southern Tier1267834%
Western New York54535038%
Statewide5,9304,44626%

Yesterday, 203,627 test results were reported to New York State, and 4.31 percent were positive. Each region’s 7-day average percentage of positive test results reported over the last three days is as follows:

REGIONTUESDAYWEDNESDAYTHURSDAY
Capital Region4.52%4.11%3.92%
Central New York3.03%2.88%2.82%
Finger Lakes3.57%3.31%3.30%
Long Island5.89%5.65%5.56%
Mid-Hudson5.66%5.65%5.54%
Mohawk Valley4.05%3.69%3.63%
New York City5.07%5.01%5.08%
North Country5.25%5.10%5.36%
Southern Tier1.83%1.76%1.68%
Western New York4.96%4.96%4.69%
Statewide4.86%4.72%4.67%

Of the 1,449,495 total individuals who tested positive for the virus, the geographic breakdown is as follows:

CountyTotal PositiveNew Positive
Albany19,215115
Allegany2,65223
Broome13,12183
Cattaraugus3,92847
Cayuga5,00027
Chautauqua6,73669
Chemung6,14223
Chenango2,19520
Clinton2,85632
Columbia3,07524
Cortland2,8989
Delaware1,25312
Dutchess19,679167
Erie58,953341
Essex1,1607
Franklin1,63028
Fulton2,73651
Genesee4,10015
Greene2,42216
Hamilton2469
Herkimer4,30119
Jefferson4,14759
Lewis1,81118
Livingston3,12730
Madison3,55718
Monroe48,976195
Montgomery2,78346
Nassau132,301757
Niagara14,10892
NYC617,1683,883
Oneida18,68991
Onondaga30,563142
Ontario5,30022
Orange33,042212
Orleans2,28131
Oswego5,58221
Otsego2,07022
Putnam7,50044
Rensselaer8,18552
Rockland35,252158
Saratoga10,86974
Schenectady10,02067
Schoharie1,0514
Schuyler8193
Seneca1,4308
St. Lawrence4,59253
Steuben5,17730
Suffolk147,064771
Sullivan4,31335
Tioga2,54520
Tompkins3,13737
Ulster9,01459
Warren2,55420
Washington1,98038
Wayne4,18316
Westchester96,465476
Wyoming2,56325
Yates97911

On Thursday, 153 New Yorkers died due to COVID-19 in New York State, bringing the total to 35,920. A geographic breakdown is as follows, by county of residence:

CountyNew Deaths
Albany6
Bronx10
Broome3
Chautauqua2
Chemung1
Chenango1
Columbia1
Dutchess3
Erie3
Essex1
Fulton2
Genesee2
Herkimer1
Jefferson1
Kings17
Manhattan10
Monroe9
Montgomery1
Nassau14
Niagara3
Oneida2
Onondaga3
Orange3
Otsego2
Queens20
Rensselaer1
Richmond4
Saratoga2
Schenectady2
St. Lawrence1
Suffolk15
Tompkins1
Ulster1
Washington1
Westchester4

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