Cuomo Says At ‘Current Burn Rate,’ New York Runs Out Of Ventilators In ‘About 6 Days’; Measures Being Taken To Expand Capacity
This picture taken on March 16, 2020 during a press presentation of the hospitalisation service for future patients with coronavirus at Samson Assuta Ashdod University Hospital in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, shows the director of the epidemics service Dr Karina Glick checking a medical ventilator control panel at a ward, while wearing protective clothing.
Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

On Thursday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo provided the daily update for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

During the presser, the governor offered a sobering and grim warning that the state has only about six days until it runs out of ventilators if the “current burn rate” continues.

At the current burn rate, we have about six days of ventilators in our stockpile, meaning if the rate of usage, the rate of people coming into hospitals who need ventilators, if that rate continues, in our stockpile, we have about six days. Now, if the apex happens within that time frame, if the apex increases, if the apex is longer, we have an issue with ventilators.

Cuomo added that the numbers will be compiled nightly, and that there “is a difference of opinion” as to how many ventilators will be needed. Cuomo continued, saying that while he has no desire to purchase more ventilators than are necessary, “we need what we need.”

“If a person comes in and needs a ventilator, and you don’t have a ventilator, the person dies,” the governor stated. “That’s the blunt equation here – and right now we have a burn rate that would suggest we have about six days in the stockpile.”

Despite this, the governor noted that the state is “taking all sorts of extraordinary measures” to increase ventilator supplies, including setting up the means to move ventilators to various hospitals in need, splitting ventilators, using “anesthesia machine ventilators,” ending elective surgeries, and using BiPAP machines. The state is also actively looking for more ventilators for purchase.

So yes, the burn rate of ventilators is troubling, and six days of ventilators in the stockpile is troubling, but we have all these extraordinary measures that I believe if push comes to shove, will put us in fairly good shape.

The governor also went over the numbers for the state.

The hospitalization rate has dropped for the third day in a row. At peak on Monday, there were 1,412 single-day hospitalizations in the state, while on Wednesday, there were 1,157. However, the overall trajectory is still upward.

While the number of ICU admissions has bobbed up and down, the overall trajectory is upward, with 374 admissions on Wednesday, tying the March 26 record. For comparison, on March 17, there were just 46 ICU admissions.

Despite two consecutive days of downward steps, the number of intubations on Wednesday ticked back up, setting a record with 313. On March 17, there were 43 intubations.

The number of discharged patients has continued to rise, with 1,292 on Wednesday.

The governor also spoke about the apex of COVID-19 in New York, when hospitals and medical workers are expected to be stretched the most, noting that various models have set the apex anywhere from 7 to 30 days from Wednesday, depending on variables such as how particular models value the impact of social distancing.

“We believe it is closer to the shorter end of the range with our in-house people looking at the professional modeling that’s being done,” Cuomo stated.

As for how prepared the state is for the apex, Cuomo said that there are currently 53,000 beds statewide, while they are anticipating a need for between 70,000 and 110,000 at peak. The governor then noted the ways in which the state is trying to account for the upcoming influx, including expanding existing hospital capacity and erecting additional facilities.

New York has also seen roughly 85,000 volunteers who will be sent where necessary.

As for death toll projections, Cuomo cited the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model, which as of Thursday predicts that New York will see approximately 16,200 deaths from COVID-19.

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