Less than 20% of NYC hospital beds empty amid COVID-19 surge

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The number of available hospital beds are dwindling as a second surge of the coronavirus grips the New York City region, new state data reveals.

The percentage of beds available in both New York City and Long Island is under 20 percent, according to the data released Tuesday.

In the city, 81 percent of hospitals are filled and 19 percent are available.

In Nassau and Suffolk counties, 82 percent of beds are occupied and 18 percent vacant.

Meanwhile, three-quarters of the critical intensive care beds are filled in the city and Long Island while just 25 percent are available, according to the figures released for the first time this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The statewide COVID-19 infection rate is 5.7 percent.

Unlike in the spring when the New York City region was the epicenter of the COVID-19, other parts of the state are also now grappling with the killer big — including the Finger Lakes, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and the Mid-Hudson Valley.

The coronavirus infection rate in the city is 4.13 percent, lower than virtually all other regions of the state. But on Long Island, the infection rate is 5.68 percent.

The state Health Department reported that the number of hospitalized patients increased by 233 on Monday to 4,835.

There were 906 patients in ICU beds, a jump of 34 on Monday.

The number of patients intubated or on breathing machines increased by 16 to 493.

Seventy four people died on Monday, a number that has crept up in recent weeks.

“As we continue to see the number of COVID cases rise in New York and across the nation, it’s critical that we not only remain tough and practice safe behaviors to limit 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 in a statement Tuesday.

Cuomo noted that he has ordered hospitals to increase their bed capacity by 25 percent to avoid being overwhelmed by an influx of sick patients.

The governor has not ruled out directing hospitals to plan to boost capacity by 50 percent, as he did in the spring when COVID-19 ravaged the city.

“The good news is New York still maintains one of the nation’s lowest infection rates, but everyone must do their part to slow the spread of the virus and stop the uptick in hospitalizations. If we work together and stay New York Tough, we can manage this pandemic until the vaccine is here.”

Cuomo warned on Monday that if New York City’s hospitalization bed occupancy rate doesn’t level off, he’ll shut down indoor dining at restaurants and perhaps other businesses deemed non-essential.

The governor has already ordered targeted shutdowns of businesses and indoor dining in COVID-19 hotspots.

“Let’s look at the big picture: we are looking at hospitalization capacity and if we don’t get the rate under control, and you are going to overwhelm your hospitals, we are going to have to go back to a shut down,” Cuomo said on Monday.

“‘Oh we don’t want to do that again.’ Then change your behavior. But if we don’t change our behavior, that is the absolute reality of the situation,” he said.

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