NEW YORK - If the rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations doesn’t stabilize soon, the state will further limit indoor dining.
And if that doesn’t help, the state may be forced to shut down portions of the economy again.
At a news conference in New York City Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said if the rate doesn’t stabilize in five days, there will be no indoor dining in New York City and other parts of the state will see indoor dining go from 50 percent capacity to 25 percent.
And restricting dining might be just the first step.
“We are looking at hospitalization capacity,” he said, “and if we don’t get the rate under control and you’re going to overwhelm your hospitals, we will have to go back to shut-down.”
He noted that “overwhelming the hospital system means people die on a gurney.”
So, Cuomo said, “if you are at a rate that is going to overwhelm your hospitals, you must shut down.”
The governor said that unless people change their behaviors, it looks as if hospitalization rates will increase through at least the middle of January, particularly with the holiday season ahead.
Critical capacity for hospitals, he said, is 90 percent. If trends show a region may hit that limit in three weeks, he will put that are on “pause.”
“But if we don’t change our behavior,” he said, “that is the absolute reality of the situation.”
The new dining restrictions, he said, are based on guidance released late last week by the CDC.
“The CDC has identified indoor dining as a spreader,” Cuomo said.
He said the restrictions will be imposed region by region and could happen as soon as next Monday.
The COVID-19 positivity rate statewide outside micro clusters is 4.27 percent. Including those zones, the statewide rate is 4.79 percent.
Dr. Anthony Fauci joined Cuomo’s announcement via teleconference.