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Cuomo warns of potential dining restrictions, shutdowns 

click to enlarge Gov. Andrew Cuomo. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
New York officials will direct hospitals across the state to increase their bed counts by 25 percent amidst a statewide rise in new coronavirus cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

During his Monday news conference, Cuomo also warned New Yorkers that if COVID-19 hospitalization rates continue to rise, individual regions could face new restrictions. State officials will be watching hospitalization rates over the next five days and if they don’t stabilize — and Cuomo said he believes they will not — then restaurants will be ordered to further reduce their capacity to 25 percent from the current 50 percent limit. That change wouldn’t impact orange zones, where indoor dining is already prohibited entirely.

Cuomo also said that if a region’s seven-day positivity rate shows that within three weeks its hospitals will become overwhelmed, the region will face a full shut-down of non-essential businesses and services. He’ll update New Yorkers on the status of the state’s 10 regions during his Monday, Wednesday, and Friday briefings. Monroe County is part of the nine-county Finger Lakes region.

“You cannot overwhelm the hospitals,” Cuomo said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joined the news conference by video and voiced his approval of the Cuomo administration’s public health tactics for limiting COVID-19 spread.

“It seems really sound and you have a lot of backup contingencies,” Fauci said.

Cuomo and Fauci also discussed an expected spike in cases related to holidays gatherings and travel. Fauci said a surge in cases related to Thanksgiving is probably still a week to a week and a half out and would lead into a potential Hanukkah and Christmas surge.

“Without substantial mitigation, the middle of January can be a really dark time for us,” Fauci said.

Cuomo once again noted that 70 percent of new COVID-19 cases are originating from small gatherings, what he’s been calling “living room spread.” He again implored New Yorkers to take appropriate cautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are in control of this,” Cuomo said. “Nothing is predetermined.”

Jeremy Moule is CITY's news editor. He can be reached at jmoule@rochester-citynews.com.

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