Four local hospitals don't have many beds open
Nick Reisman reports for New York State of Politics that four local hospitals are at 10 percent capacity or less as of Nov. 26. That was the day Gov. Kathy Hochul signed an executive order allowing state health officials to limit non-essential procedures for in-hospitals or systems with limited capacity. Hochul signed the order because a winter wave of new COVID-19 cases has hit the state, and more are expected with the arrival of the new Omicron variant. The Albany Medical Center Hospital, the Samaritan Hospital in Rensselaer County, the Saratoga Hospital, and the Delaware Valley Hospital in Delaware County now all have only ten percent of beds available. Hochul said Nov. 29 she hoped the hospitals lacking space for new patients would increase bed capacity and fall off the list. Hochul's order goes into effect Dec. 3, and any hospital with 10 percent or less capacity then will be required to shut down most elective surgeries until Jan. 15, 2022. Hochul's executive order also allows the state to use National Guard units to add staff in New York hospitals. "We have surveyed our National Guard resources. We know that there are numbers who have EMT training or health care backgrounds, and we can deploy them in a targeted way to the health care facilities, the nursing homes and long-term health care facilities, where they're having a shortage because here's how it works - one of the reasons we have additional individuals still in hospitals who are non-COVID, who are ready to be discharged, is that the nursing homes don't have enough staff to take them," Hochul said.