Staten Island COVID-19 cases worrisome, causing ‘hospital capacity issue’


COVID-19 cases on Staten Island are posing a “serious problem” for New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

Barring an unexpected change in trajectory, the governor said zones within the New York City borough may go from yellow to orange and red. Under the state’s color-coded strategy, that means additional closures and restrictions for those areas.

“We're running into a hospital capacity issue on Staten Island that we have to be dealing with over these next few days,” Cuomo told reporters.

Currently, most of Staten Island has been in a yellow zone since Nov. 11. Cuomo did not indicate what parts of it may be escalated.

That’s not the only area that’s likely to be downgraded either, the governor warned. Parts of Rochester and Syracuse will likely see their yellow zones become orange, while areas in Upper Manhattan, as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties, will likely become yellow zones.

In a yellow zone, churches may hold services at up to 50 percent capacity, all businesses are allowed to remain open and both indoor and outdoor dining is allowed. In orange zones, churches can welcome up to 25 people per service, such high-risk businesses as gyms and barber shops, and outdoor dining is allowed.

In red zones, churches can accommodate up to 10 people per service, all nonessential businesses are closed, and restaurants can only offer takeout or delivery.

A red zone designation for parts of Staten Island could have implications for holiday celebrations. While the governor earlier this month said that in-home gatherings are limited to no more than 10 people, such events are prohibited in red clusters.

With Thanksgiving now just four days away, Cuomo said he believes the state will see an uptick in cases from Dec. 1-10. He also expects another bump in early to mid-January after the December holiday gatherings.

Those spikes may not just lead to more clusters but could lead to additional stress on medical facilities and health care personnel across the state.

Cuomo once again urged people to follow the restrictions in place because while one or more vaccines may be coming out in a few weeks, it will still take a substantial amount of time to get them out to the public.

“You can't take six months of unrestricted increase,” he said.

New York received 196,608 test reports on Saturday, with a 2.7 percent positivity rate statewide. The state also reported 30 deaths from COVID-19 and 2,562 hospitalizations.

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