NEW YORK - Echoing the message from Gov. Andrew Cuomo a day earlier, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday said New Yorkers should anticipate more COVID-related restrictions soon.
"We can expect, in a matter of days, new restrictions," said de Blasio from City Hall. "No one is happy about it. I feel for the small businesses that might be affected and the employees, but this health situation has to be addressed. I do see restrictions coming and other restrictions have to be on the table."
Hospitals across New York were ordered by Gov. Cuomo Monday to add 25% more beds to handle growing numbers of coronavirus patients. Cuomo also warned he would curtail indoor dining if hospitalizations keep rising.
The hospitalization rate in New York City is 2.3% per 100,000 people. De Blasio said it needs to be at 2% or lower. More than 4,600 COVID-19 patients are now hospitalized statewide, double the amount reported Nov. 18. Both leaders said the continued growth is worrying.
"I think that's the ultimate bottom line: Can your hospitals handle the increase until you start to see a reduction from the vaccinations?" Cuomo said at a briefing in New York City.
The Democratic governor said he'll shut down schools, nonessential businesses and all restaurant table service in regions that are on track to hit 90% of hospital capacity within three weeks, based on a seven-day average.
Meanwhile, Cuomo said he'd wait five days to see whether hospitalizations keep rising before he might rein in indoor dining — potentially banning it in New York City and limiting it elsewhere to 25% capacity, down from 50%.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that indoor dining is high-risk "when distancing is not maintained and consistent use of face masks is not possible."
Cuomo and public health experts expect hospitalization rates to continue rising until at least mid-January.
"You'd expect the effect of the Thanksgiving surge would probably be another week or a week and a half from now," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, who joined Cuomo's briefing by livestream Monday.
Fauci noted that after upticks in cases, it can take over two weeks for hospitalizations to increase.
Worried about potential hospital staffing shortages, Cuomo urged retired healthcare workers to volunteer to help provide as many as 20,000 extra nurses and doctors.
New York recorded over 65,000 new coronavirus cases over the past seven days, up 80% from two weeks ago. The state averaged 47 daily new cases per 100,000 residents over the seven days through Saturday — higher than at least a dozen other states including Florida and South Carolina.
Central and western New York have continued to see upticks in cases and hospitalizations over the past weeks.
State Sen. George Borello, a Republican who represents a western New York district, said Monday he and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 following a Sunday test he took as a precaution. He said they both "feel well" and that Borrelo wore masks and followed social-distancing guidelines at public events he recently attended.
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)
With the Associated Press