With coronavirus numbers slowing, Cuomo announces plan to resume elective surgeries

Courtesy of Cuomo’s office

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that elective outpatient treatments can resume in counties and hospitals without significant risk of a coronavirus surge in the near term — as early as next week. 

“We artificially stopped the number of patients going into a hospital because we ended what’s called elective surgery, elective treatment. And therefore, people can’t go into the hospital for an elective procedure,” Cuomo said. “In those parts of the state and in those hospitals where the hospitals are laying off people because they’re so quiet and they have that capacity and capacity for the virus is not an issue, we’re going to allow elective outpatient treatment, which means the number of beds remains available because the number of people using those beds is still relatively minimal.”

Those hospitals with minimal activity would have to meet certain requirements to resume outpatient procedures. 

On April 28, if a hospital’s capacity is over 25 percent for the county and if there have been fewer than 10 new hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in the county over the past 10 days, outpatient procedures can begin.

If a hospital is located in a county eligible to resume elective outpatient treatments, but that facility has a capacity under 25 percent or has had more than 10 new coronavirus hospitalizations in the previous 10 days, that hospital will not be eligible.

Elective surgery restrictions will remain in place for the Bronx, Queens, Rockland, Nassau, Westchester, Kings, Suffolk, New York and Dutchess, among others, as the state continues to monitor the rate of new coronavirus infections.

Cuomo disclosed that the total new number of New Yorkers on Monday “who walked in the door yesterday or were diagnosed with COVID,” was at 1,300 — a promising turn in the right direction. 

“That is down and that’s good news, relative to really bad news which is what was happening up until then, right. We have to remember our calculus of good, our definition of good has changed here,” he said. “’Good’ is now ‘not terrible.’ But on an absolute scale, 1,300 people walk in the door with COVID on a single day in the state of New York, that would not be good news in any other context besides the context we’re living in.”

With numbers trending downward, Cuomo presented the idea of re-opening New York state, which will be a methodical, well-researched process. 

“Planning the reopening is just that — plan the reopening. Understand it, calculate, calibrate it. Nobody’s ever done it before,” the governor said. “We paid a tremendous price to get where we are today and make the progress that we have made today. We’ve paid a tremendous price to control this beast. We closed down everything. People have worked tirelessly in the healthcare system and the first responders and the essential workers. You showed you can control the beast. Do no harm. Don’t go backward. That’s the first point and then plan the reopening.”

No ideal date for such a plan was disclosed. 

As of Tuesday afternoon, New York had 257,125 reported cases of coronavirus which led to 18,821 deaths, per CNN

This story first appeared on amny.com.