A 79-year-old woman who died in a New York City hospital has become the state’s third victim of COVID-19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported Sunday during his daily press conference on how officials are dealing with the novel coronavirus.
The woman who was admitted to the hospital last week died Saturday, said Cuomo, declining to identify the hospital. The elderly woman suffered from a number of "major underlying health problems," Cuomo said.
An 82-year-old New York City woman was the state’s first death from COVID-19. She died on Friday, Cuomo had said on Saturday, when he also announced a second death, a 65-year-old in Rockland County with “other significant health problems.”
Meanwhile, testing numbers continue to climb throughout the state. As of Sunday, 5,272 tests had been conducted, with 729 cases testing positive. Of those cases, 137 – or 19 percent – are hospitalized. There are 65 patients throughout the state in hospital intensive care units.
Cuomo stressed the importance of automated testing which could bring a dramatic rise in the number of tests administered daily, up to 1,000.
"We need to free up hospital beds. That could be done by canceling elective surgery or developing other hospitals for patients who are not critical," the governor said. He suggested that empty SUNY dormitories could be retrofitted to provide health care for patients who are not critical.
While many districts in Western New York have closed schools, Cuomo admitted the challenge of the undertaking.
"Closing schools is not that simple," said Cuomo. "The key is child care. A large percentage of the workforce would stay home to care for their children, but police officers, firefighters, health-care workers and public transportation operators are essential personnel. We can’t have nurses stay home to watch their children. How do you feed children when they're not in school? It's up to localities to come up with a plan."
Among other initiatives announced Sunday, Cuomo directed the state's chief judge, Janet DiFiore, to formulate a plan to limit the numbers of non-essential court services. He expected the plan to be completed on Monday.