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McMahon says local hospitals are “in good shape” with capacity, operational challenges

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse (Photo credit: zoeyadvertising.com)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Upstate University Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Hospital, and Crouse Hospital are “in good shape” related to capacity and operational challenges amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s according to Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon, who spoke with representatives of all three Syracuse hospitals on Tuesday.

Each facility is dealing with staffing issues following the health-care worker vaccine mandate that resulted in the firing of employees who didn’t get the vaccine. Staff burnout during the pandemic has also contributed to staffing shortages as employees have left the heath-care sector.

“We’re going to continue to work with our hospitals, consult with our health department, and try to come up with metrics that would help trigger potential [staffing] mitigation if it hits that,” according to McMahon.

The county executive spoke during a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday at the Oncenter.

“We’re going to continue to monitor this and we’re going to work on various metrics, but the situation is so fluid, it’s hard just to put a number out there right now and to say if you hit this number, it triggers X or Y,” McMahon said.

Crouse Hospital in Syracuse (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

All three hospitals said their emergency rooms get crowded at times, which results in diversion, or sending patients to other emergency departments at other hospitals.

“And a lot of this really is avoidable, in certain cases. They ask that we remind folks that the emergency room is for a true emergency. You should not be going there for a COVID test,” McMahon noted.

COVID-19 data

Onondaga County didn’t have any COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours. McMahon also reported 136 people are currently hospitalized in the county, including 32 in an intensive-care unit (ICU).

“Out of the 32 in the ICU, 78 percent … are unvaccinated,” he noted. “Again, the vaccine is the tool to keep yourself out of the ICU and the booster shot as well.”

McMahon also reported 121 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, about one-third of which resulted from household contacts.

Onondaga County’s case rate now stands at 39 cases per 100,000 people, which is down from 52 per 100,000 people a week ago.

“So, we saw a 25 percent decline in cases. That’s probably the Halloween surge … essentially worked its way through,” he added.

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