Two new statistics could be glimmers of hope as New York copes with the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of new hospitalizations dropped Saturday to below 1,000 for the first time in eight days. There were 574 new hospitalizations, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It's the lowest number of new hospitalizations in a day since March 20.
As new patients decline, the number of discharges is on the rise. There were 1,709 COVID-19 patients discharged on Saturday. It's the seventh consecutive day discharges increased in New York.
So far, 12,187 patients have been discharged after receiving treatment for the virus.
Cuomo cautioned that the data can't be analyzed on a day-to-day basis. To establish a pattern, he said a three- or four-day period is needed. But he added that there are projection models in which the apex — the peak of the outbreak — is more of a plateau.
"You could argue that you're seeing a slight plateauing in the data," Cuomo said.
While the new data could be a positive development, the pandemic is still taking a toll in New York.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is up to 122,031. The virus has killed 4,159 New Yorkers. There are 4,376 patients in intensive care units, although the number of daily intubations — how many people were placed on ventilators — dipped Saturday.
With the virus continuing to spread in New York, Cuomo urged those in vulnerable populations to remain isolated and protect themselves.
Vulnerable groups include seniors, people with underlying health conditions or those with compromised immune systems.
"The coronavirus is truly vicious and effective at what the virus does," Cuomo said. "It's an effective killer."
The main concern remains the pandemic's impact on the healthcare system, especially hospitals in the New York City area caring for thousands of patients.
New York City's share of the COVID-19 cases in the state has been steady. But there is a growing number of cases on Long Island, which doesn't have the same hospital capacity as the city.
Cuomo wants the downstate hospitals to work together. That could avoid situations where some hospitals are over capacity while others have beds available.
"If one hospital starts to get high, we have to shift that patient load to other hospitals," he said.
In other news:
• The federal government is sending 1,000 medical professionals, including doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists, to New York.
For now, the focus is on the New York City area and many of the healthcare workers will be sent to city hospitals.
Cuomo praised the healthcare workers who are responding to the public health crisis.
"They are true heroes in the truest sense of the word," he said.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.
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