ALBANY — For the first time, the total number of daily coronavirus deaths in the state has been dropping, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Sunday, but it’s “too early to tell” what the significance of this drop is yet.
During his daily press briefing Sunday, Gov. Cuomo said the total number of deaths in the state reached 4,159, which is up from 3,565 deaths reported Saturday.
“That’s the bad news,” the governor said.
On Thursday, April 2, the state reported 562 virus related deaths; on Friday, April 3, it reported 630 deaths; and on Saturday, 594 deaths were reported.
This is hopefully the beginning of a shift in the data, Gov. Cuomo said.
On Saturday, 18,659 people were tested for the virus, bringing the state’s total number of tests administered to 302,280.
There were an additional 8,327 virus cases confirmed Saturday in New York, which brings the statewide total to 122,031.
There are 16,479 people currently hospitalized with the virus, which is up by 574. Of those patients, 4,376 are in the ICU, which is up by 250.
The governor said 12,187 people have been discharged after having the virus, which is up by 1,709.
The discharge rate is up, “and that’s great news,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The governor said that 75 percent of those who have been admitted to a hospital for the virus have now come out.
“The more people that are coming out, it makes it easier to handle the large influx that’s coming in,” he added.
The governor spoke about the difference in opinions when talking about what happens at the virus’ apex. Some say the apex is a point, while others argue it could be a plateau, which is where the number of cases stays high for a period of time before dropping.
“You have to think of that when you think about what you’re seeing in the numbers,” the governor said.
By looking at the data, he added, the state could either be “very near” the apex, or the apex could be a plateau, which the state could be on right now. It’s unclear where the state stands now until the numbers over the next few days are revealed, Gov. Cuomo said.
The operational challenge for the healthcare system is “impossible,” the governor said.
“The system is over capacity, all across the board,” he added.
He said the way to handle this is to “surge and flex.”
“The only way we can make this work, is if we flex the system so that we take all hospitals, all hospital networks, and we work together as one system,” Gov. Cuomo said.
To balance the patient load across all hospitals, there needs to be shifting of patients to other hospitals when the capacity of one hospital starts to reach its maximum, “which is a daily exercise,” the governor added. “It’s very, very difficult.”
The governor also said that the state is running low on supplies. Hospitals are used to having a surplus of supplies to last them 60 to 90 days, but right now, hospitals are operating on just a two to three day supply of equipment needed to combat the virus, “which makes the entire hospital system uncomfortable,” Gov. Cuomo said.
“I can’t say to a hospital ‘I will send you all the supplies you need,’ ‘I will send you all the ventilators you need,’” the governor said. “We don’t have them.”
Supplies and resources are going to have to be shifted and deployed to different locations based on the needs of each location, which the governor said he thinks will be true for the entire country.
“(When) we get past this curve, whatever part of the country goes next, we will be there with equipment and personnel and however we can help,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The governor also announced that the federal government is deploying approximately 1,000 personnel to New York, including doctors, nurses, etc. to help fight the virus on the front line.
The immediate priority, Gov. Cuomo said, is to deploy those people to help at overwhelmed New York City public hospitals.
“This is gonna be over,” Gov. Cuomo said.
He reassured everyone that there will be a vaccine, and that there are a number of treatments being tested right now. State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker is currently working with the FDA to test all new treatments, the governor added.
“I think you see the return to normalcy when we have an approved, rapid testing program that can be brought to scale,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Once such a test comes to fruition, people can start to go back to work because they’ll know they’re negative for the virus.
“That is gonna be the answer, I believe,” Gov. Cuomo said.