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Cuomo: Western New York has had the highest increase in hospitalizations over the past 3 weeks

According to the governor's office, Western New York had a 262.39 percent increase in hospitalizations over the past three weeks.

ALBANY, N.Y. — During a press conference Wednesday morning in Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo provided an update regarding the state's continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the latest data from the state, Cuomo says New York is seeing the same basic increase in COVID-19 cases in every region of the state over the past three weeks. The governor says the first time around, the cases were higher downstate, and New York was able to send resources from other parts of the state to help out. Unfortunately, Cuomo says that isn't an option now, since the increase in cases is statewide.

The governor says the Western New York region has had the highest increase in hospitalizations over the past three weeks. According to the governor's office, Western New York had a 262.39 percent increase.

However, by number of cases, the governor says prioritization shifts. When looking at the increase in hospital patients over the last three weeks, New York City had the highest increase with 642 patients. Western New York had the third highest increase of 307 patients.

Cuomo says the hospital capacity in Western New York has been expanded by ending elective surgeries in Erie County. The governor made the announcement earlier in the week that Erie County hospitals must stop elective surgeries by December 4, saying hospital capacity is currently the top concern.

"That in essence opens beds and expands the capacity of the hospital," Cuomo said.

Cuomo also stressed that living room spread is responsible for over 70 percent of new COVID-19 cases. The governor unveiled a new PSA to inform New Yorkers about living room spread and what actions can be taken to further prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition, the governor spent quite a bit of time discussing COVID-19 vaccines. Cuomo says New York is expected to receive its first delivery of the Pfizer vaccine on December 15, if all safety and efficacy approvals are granted. This will be enough for 170,000 New Yorkers.

The New York State Department of Health reports that 193,551 tests were reported Tuesday. Of those tests, 8,973 came back positive for a percent positive rate of 4.63 percent. The total hospitalizations in New York State on Tuesday was at 3,924.

At this time, the state is hoping the curve will flatten mid January, after the holidays.