State works to develop winter COVID-19 plan as daily death toll climbs

State works to develop winter COVID-19 plan as daily death toll climbs
New York Coronavirus (Source: MGN)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - The state’s daily death toll due to COVID-19 continues to climb.

Thirty people died Saturday, 33 on Sunday, 47 on Monday, and 41 on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the toll reached 67.

That was the number Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on a conference call with reporters on Thanksgiving Day.

In a small piece of good news, the percentage of people who tested positive in the state “is down a notch.”

Including targeted hotspots, the infection rate was 3.1. It was 3.62 percent the day before.

The rate outside the micro-cluster zones was 3.04 percent on Tuesday. On Wednesday, it was 3.2 percent.

Inside the zones, the rate went from 5.28 percent on Tuesday to 4.9 percent on Wednesday.

The north country’s rate was 2.1 percent.

But other statistics continue to go up.

Hospitalizations increased by 74 to 3,056, intensive care admissions went up 32 to 628, and nine more people were put on ventilators for a total of 286.

“The positivity goes up, more people get sick, more people go into the hospital, more people go into the ICU, more people get intubated, and the death number goes up,” the governor said.

Even with the increasing numbers, he said, “relative to the rest of the country, New York state is still doing phenomenally well.”

The governor also outlined what will be involved in the state’s plan to deal with the virus over the winter. He expects to flesh out details over the next week or so.

He said the state will continue its micro-cluster approach, which he says “is working very well.”

That approach, he said, targets the spread of the virus, minimizes economic impact, and stresses individual and community responsibility.

He said the state is working on adding other factors into the red-orange-yellow-zone approach, “most notably hospitalization rate and availability of hospital beds, ICU beds.”

If hospital beds become too scarce inside a particular zone, it could trigger the state to open field hospitals, he said.

Also part of the winter plan is keeping schools open, particularly through the eighth grade, “by setting a safe positivity rate” and establishing “a sustainable testing rate” that districts can reasonably provide.

The third leg of the winter plan is developing a vaccine distribution plan “that does it fairly and effectively.”

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