NYS COVID-19 test positivity rate, hospitalizations trend up: governor

State announces 'surge and flex' plan for New York hospitals

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the state is taking immediate measures to step up the ability of healthcare facilities to deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The total hospitalizations were 4,602 on Sunday, up from 4,442 on Saturday, added Cuomo, who once warned that the state's COVID-19 hospitalizations could reach 6,000 in weeks based on the current trends.

"As we continue to see the number of COVID cases rise in NY and across the nation, it's critical that we not only remain tough and practice safe behaviors to limit the viral spread, but that we also do everything in our power to ensure hospitals are prepared to handle a growing number of patients", Cuomo said.

Times deputy editor Dan Saltzstein spotted a restaurant with an outdoor-dining setup he apparently didn't think was safe, as the establishment instructed pedestrians to walk through a makeshift tent for outdoor diners. Currently, restaurants are limited to 25 percent capacity.

And in New York City, where restaurants are already limited to 25 percent, indoor dining could be restricted entirely as early as next Monday.

Cuomo said the state isn't yet at a "critical" level of COVID-19 hospitalizations, but that the continued growth is worrying.

Cuomo told reporters Monday that over 4,600 COVID-19 patients are now hospitalized statewide, double the amount reported November 18.

But he said it was "still a source of spread".

State announces 'surge and flex' plan for New York hospitals
Gov. Andrew Cuomo

In Westchester County, officials tell News 12 the number of infections is closing in on what we saw back in the spring and hospitals are beginning to fill back up.

Dr. Anthony Fauci joined Cuomo during Monday's news conference.

Only essential business can be open.

If the new restrictions are implemented, indoor dining would be completely prohibited in New York City and cut to 25% capacity in the rest of the state.

Total COVID hospitalizations statewide are at 4,993 as of today. He said the entire country is poised to feel the "full blunt" effect of Thanksgiving travel and family gatherings.

Fauci noted that after upticks in cases, it can take over two weeks for hospitalizations to increase. "Without substantial mitigation, the middle of January can be a real dark time for us".

"Ten [people] may even be a bit too much", Fauci said.

Fauci stressed people should continue to mitigate the virus' spread and avoid gatherings.