New York hospital capacity becomes major concern

New York's governor is warning that hospitalizations are increasing as the number of coronavirus cases tied to small family gatherings is exploding. 

"We are seeing the rise in hospitalizations across the state," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a Monday morning briefing.

Hospital capacity is a major concern, he added.

"We are now worried about overwhelming the hospital system," Cuomo said.  "We're going to have a problem in the hospitals."

Cuomo said the numbers were already increasing before the holiday season started with the Thanksgiving weekend.

"We don't know what the post-Thanksgiving effect is yet," he said.

Cuomo says the effects of holiday gatherings won't be felt for about 10 days. He says he expects cases to continue rising until mid-January due to changed behavior during the 37 day holiday period.

54 new coronavirus deaths across the state were reported on Monday morning.

Erie County was ordered to stop elective surgeries because of staff shortages. Cuomo warned that other parts of the state could also face a temporary ban on elective surgeries.

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Cuomo also told hospital systems to identify retired nurses and doctors who could be brought in as emergency staff.

He also ordered hospitals to plan to add 50% bed capacity but said staff shortages were a bigger concern than a lack of beds.

Cuomo said the good news is that New York is doing better than almost any other state and is better prepared to deal with a new surge.