Governor Hochul lifts pause on elective surgeries

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VALHALLA, N.Y. (WHEC) – With plunging COVID positivity rates and improving conditions at hospitals statewide, Governor Kathy Hochul Thursday announced the state is lifting its restriction on elective surgeries.

During a briefing about the approaching winter storm, the governor moved on to summarize the state’s COVID-19 numbers and said every hospital in the state has improved its capacity to the point of lifting the pause on non-essential procedures.

News10NBC has reached out to our local hospital systems for reaction. URMC issued the following statement:

Today Governor Hochul lifted remaining restrictions on non-essential surgeries statewide due to falling COVID case numbers and hospitalizations. At multiple points during the pandemic, both state-imposed and self-imposed moratoriums have been placed on elective surgeries at UR Medicine hospitals. These actions were critical to preserving hospital capacity for patients who were acutely ill with both COVID and non-COVID related conditions. At the same time, we recognized that access to surgical care during these periods was essential to the health and well-being of our patients and our community at large. There are 100 operating rooms across the six UR Medicine hospitals and three ambulatory surgery centers. We have worked hard to leverage our system’s capacity by shifting procedures and load balancing across facilities to meet our patients’ needs. Despite these efforts, the state’s moratoriums on elective surgeries– along with ongoing staffing challenges – have created an excess of deferred cases. We are focused on ensuring that anyone who needs surgery has access to care, but ask for patience as we continue to expand surgical capacity across the UR Medicine system to meet demand.

Governor Hochul also addressed the school masking policy. She reiterated the plan to assess the first week of March. She’s asking parents to test their children before sending them back to school after winter break and a second time mid-week, just to be sure, especially for families returning from trips.