Governor Cuomo’s Plan to Combat New York’s COVID-19
At the beginning of December 2020, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a five-step plan to control COVID-19. The strategy is the result of consultation with global public health experts as well as local governments and other affected parties to create a strategy that builds off of lessons that have already been learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This strategy comes after Governor Cuomo’s comments that New York state and its residents must create a plan that specifically addresses the challenges associated with the pandemic. The following reviews five strategies being utilized to decrease the impact of the pandemic.
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Strengthening Emergency Hospital Measures
After Governor Cuomo initiated New York’s micro-cluster approach in the fall of 2020, the technique has been a powerful way to identify which locations have high infection rates as well as to implement additional restrictions to reduce the spread of the virus. This technique has also helped to avoid widespread shutdowns that would have ended up disrupting both the economy and the lives of residents.
Under New York’s COVID-19 plan, the state has utilized additional hospital metrics to provide a better assessment of how certain areas are handling the pandemic as well as that location’s contribution to daily hospital admissions. These metrics include details like daily hospital admissions, regional hospital bed capacity, ICU capacity, and staffing ratios.
Besides the three current micro-cluster zone levels of yellow, orange, and red, New York has also introduced an “emergency stop” level that places a region under the New York pause guidelines. New York has instituted new measures to prepare the state’s hospital systems for a rise in the increase of COVID-19 cases over the following weeks.
Some of the new techniques that have been introduced include:
- Conforming the extent of resources at each hospital
- Identifying patient loads across individual hospital facilities
- Identifying retired doctors and nurses to support staff
- Requiring hospitals in Erie County to suspend elective surgeries so new bed space can be created for the treatment of COVID-19 patients
- Creating plans to staff emergency field hospitals
- Instituting plans for “surge and flex” operations throughout New York state
- Preparing plans to implement emergency field hospitals
- Establishing plans to increase hospital bed capacity by 50%
Increasing and Balance Testing the Accessibility of Resources
As part of its winter plan, Governor Cuomo’s strategy involves increasing the amount of testing available throughout the state. Not only will COVID-19 testing be increased throughout the state, but the strategy will also focus on making sure that tests are sufficient across different population groups including:
- Business professionals
- Essential workers
- Healthcare workers
- Nursing homes
- Personal services testing
Keeping Schools Safely Open
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, some of the most commonly discussed questions have been whether schools should remain open and how to do so safely. Many pandemic experts have found that, provided a school’s infection rate is below the infection of the surrounding community, the school should remain open. Despite the hazards that exist in interacting with a community is well established, schools provide countless advantages in the lives of children including a regularity to children’s routines.
Under Governor Cuomo’s strategy, efforts will be made to keep K-8 as well as special education schools will be kept open provided that this can be done so safely.
One of the primary techniques that will be used to facilitate the safe long term operation of schools, testing will be performed at schools on an ongoing basis. The frequency of testing at schools will be influenced by the zone in which a school is located:
- Schools located in Orange Zones must test 20% of in-person students, faculty, and staff over the course of a month
- Schools located in Red Zones must test 30% of in-person students, faculty, and staff over the course of a month
These measures are only the minimum threshold that schools must satisfy to remain open. New York state also might adjust requirements for specific districts based on any extenuating circumstances.
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Eliminate the Chance of Viral Spread From Small Gatherings
Small gatherings are recognized as the most common way in which COVID-19 is spread. Approximately 65% of all cases come from these situations. In recognition of this danger, 16 states have passed restrictions on the number of people who can gather. Even though the government has little ability to monitor small gatherings, the public must be informed about the dangers associated with small gatherings.
In the same way that New York state promoted wearing a mask, the state will also launch a public education campaign to emphasize how small gatherings are a common reason why COVID-19 is spread throughout the community.
Execute a Safe Vaccination Program
Even though a COVID-19 vaccine has been released, it will take months before a critical mass of the population will be vaccinated. As New York state creates a plan to distribute vaccinations, the strategy will be motivated by the elements of equity, fairness, and safety. These structures as well as outreach among Black and Brown communities with poor health outcomes have been identified as a critical aspect of making sure that the vaccine is evenly distributed.
As of the end of January 2021, New York state is in Phase 1a as well as the initial part of Phase 1b of its vaccine program. Some of the eligible New Yorkers during this phase of the vaccine process include high-risk hospital workers, residents and staff at nursing homes, EMS workers, coroners, medical examiners, Federally Qualified Health Center workers, Urgent Care providers, individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, and staff in direct contact with patients.
Speak with a Compassionate New York Personal Injury Lawyer
At The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP, our legal team has attentively monitored the state of COVID-19 in New York state since the outbreak began. Our lawyers are particularly interested in how these trends will impact the community on both a legal and medical level. To contact a member of our Long Island personal injury firm, contact us online or call us at 516-358-6900.