Hochul: Hospital beds starting to open up, office watching numbers closely

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Calling her mask mandate a "temporary measure," Gov. Kathy Hochul Monday said she hopes counties across the state enforce mask mandates if they don’t have a vaccination policy.

During a news conference Monday, she mentioned unvaccinated people have been filling up our hospitals.

Hochul said it’s still early, but beds are starting to open up in the areas where it was at 10% or lower. In our area, hospitals are working to support staffing shortages and free up beds.

URMC received eight nurses from New York City over the weekend to do just that. They’ll be here for the next two weeks. In a statement, URMC said COVID hospitalizations for them are high, and they hope to have more beds in the next few weeks.

Hochul added that she thinks the number of empty hospital beds across the board is improving, one of the reasons is because of the red light on elective surgeries, but it’s something her office is watching very closely.

"People self-resolving at home is one situation, but when they start putting stress on our already exhausted health care system, this has been a long grueling two years, and anything we can do to help relieve that pressure cooker is one of my top priorities,” Hochul said.

Hochul said at the height they had between 32 and 36 hospitals that didn’t meet the state’s standards and had to stop elective surgeries. She said she’ll give an updated report on those numbers this week.