N.Y. hospitals to test for new COVID variant

David Dee Delgado/Getty Images A man gets a COVID test.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent Thanksgiving morning laying out the framework of a plan for the state to prepare for the anticipated COVID-19 surge during the coming winter months. They may be bleak.

Cuomo wants to use the lessons learned from the Thanksgiving holiday to get us all ready for what may come.

“There are a number of theories about how bad the increase will be after Thanksgiving, but they all project an increase post-Thanksgiving,” the governor said in a brief press conference. “We see the air travel has increased, we see the car travel has increased and we know that the more social activity there is, the higher the infection rate.”

The state is going to continue to follow its microcluster response to the virus because it targets COVID from spreading more rapidly throughout the state, Cuomo said, and has the ability to minimize the economic impact statewide. This process puts more emphasis on community responsibility and is a strategy health experts have said works well.

Statewide, the positivity rate is 3.1%, slightly above the 3% threshold.

Locally, the news is more alarming.

The seven-day rolling average positivity rate in Genesee County was 6.7% as of Friday, and tied with Erie County for the second highest statewide.

Wyoming County’s rolling average was 5.7% as of Friday, with Orleans and Livingston counties at 3.3% and 1.8% respectively.

These numbers cannot be sustained before hospitalizations rise, and along with that — as much as nobody wants to think about it — sickness, hospitalizations and death.

Indeed, some families in our area are seeing it now, in our very communities. The rising numbers and their very real effects are nothing to take lightly.

New shutdowns may loom.

Updates to the state’s yellow, orange and red zone classification system are likely, Cuomo said. In addition to positivity rates, hospitalization rates and availability of hospital beds and intensive care unit beds will be factored in to determine designation of yellow, orange or red zones.

Now, here we are, talking about fending off a COVID pandemic that health experts were warning us about for months. Positive tests are increasing at an alarming rate. All we can say is be prepared.

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