As New York continues to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases statewide and the effects of the Thanksgiving holiday remain uncertain for the next few days, Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out new strategies as the state shifts to “a new phase” of the coronavirus battle. The state is in a new phase “in the war against COVID...the battle has shifted,” Gov. Cuomo said Monday, attributing the new phase to colder weather, increased travel and a change in the positive effect of public information and government policies on business protocol.He also warned that the state could go back under it's "NY PAUSE" order if the situation does not get better. In the shift, hospital capacity has become the state’s top concern, according to the governor. As of Nov. 29, 3,532 hospitalizations were reported, with nearly 700 patients in intensive care units. The five strategies have been established by “new facts,” Cuomo said.Hospital capacity: The main concern –*Focus on number of hospitalization and hospital capacity.Adding new metrics to determine if areas will be yellow, orange and red zones:Hospitalization rateDeath rateCase rateAvailable hospital, ICU beds,Available staffEffective patients load management,PPE and equipment availability.Metrics to be set after "post-Thanksgiving effect."Meeting with hospital administrators to assess how much capacity they have etc.Add emergency stop (NY on PAUSE) zone modifications.Testing: Increase and balanceAll working to increase gross amount of testingBalanced distribution (test healthcare workers, nursing homes, schools, essential workers, business professionals, personal services, general population.)Schools (K-8): Keep open when safeFocus on special education and K-8Establish ongoing testing in schoolsTesting on a weekly basis for schools in orange, red zonesSchool districts can close lower than state threshold, but state’s advice is to keep K-8 open whenever safe.Small gatherings: #1 cause for spread — alert the publicBehavioral shift during holidays, reduced socialization options.Nationwide problemGovernment ability to monitor small gatherings is limitedpublic education campaign on safety concerns — first masks, not educate on small gatheringsNot a political issue: Both Trump and Biden's health officials agree.Vaccine distribution: Be prepared.Vaccine delivery could start in the next few weeksPillars: Fairness, equity, safetyInclusive process: outreach to Black, Brown, poor communitiesUntil enough people have been vaccinated, keep operating economy at maximum safety level.As the state works to ensure there is enough hospital capacity as cases surge, the department of health has initiated emergency hospital measures:Staff shortage: ID retired nurses, doctorsStop elective surgery Individual hospital network load balancing mandated. Prepare emergency field hospitals planHospitals plan to add 50% bed capacity.Prepare to implement statewide "surge and flex."Prepare to staff emergency field hospitalsEmergency PPE stockpileThough New York's numbers remain lower than other parts of the country, the state has seen an uptick in its COVID-19 positivity rate. The state has reported another 6,819 new daily positive cases and 54 new fatalities, bringing the state's death toll to 26,744.

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