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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

NYS creates Public Health Emergency system to combat coronavirus

The main goal is to reduce the spread of the virus and treat those that are infected.

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo discussed Thursday the state's Public Health Emergency system in an effort to combat coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. 

The main goal is to reduce the spread of the virus and treat those that are infected.

There are currently 328 confirmed positive coronavirus cases in New York State. Of those confirmed positive cases, 47 of them have been hospitalized for treatment.

Most people, Cuomo said, will self-resolve or be treated at home. Health officials are concerned about hospital capacity and staffing capacity should there be more cases. There are many things they're looking at, including the possibility of canceling elective surgeries at local hospitals that could free up beds for patients needing treatment.

They're asking retired doctors and nurses to contact their previous hospital or employer for an on-call as needed basis. The state is also reaching out to medical schools to see if they will have staff available to assist if needed. 

Cuomo says that state has authorized 28 labs within the state to test the kits. They are also working to contract with national labs, but are waiting for FDA approval. 

Another part of the emergency system is to reduce the number of people in a contagious environment. The state says there should be no gatherings of 500 or more people. Those with occupancy of 0-500 should reduce their seated capacity by 50%. That goes into effect on March 13, 2020.  

Broadway shows needed to reduce their seating capacity by Thursday night.  However, they announced Thursday afternoon they are suspending shows until April 13.  

Those exempted are schools, hospitals, nursing homes and mass transit. 

All staff in nursing homes and senior-assisted living facilities must wear masks and staff will be monitored for symptoms. No non-medical/staff personal to enter unless there is a pressing circumstance.  Any visitors would have to wear protective garb, although some nursing home are banning visitors. 

The governor's office says any business that cannot accommodate rigorous cleaning, they should contact the ESD for a close order: 212-803-3100.

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