Cuomo: New York's coronavirus hospitalization rate a 'very good sign' and 'headed in the right direction'

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoFlorida health officials agreed to receive remdesivir from New York before DeSantis dismissed offer Cuomo says Northeast will likely see rise in COVID-19 cases due to surge in other parts of country Overnight Health Care: Coronavirus deaths rise again amid mounting outbreaks | The Trump-Fauci divide is getting more apparent | New York to deliver remdesivir to Florida after DeSantis dismisses offer for help MORE (D) said Wednesday that New York's current coronavirus hospitalization rate is “headed in the right direction,” even as he works to greatly increase hospitals' capacity as the number of cases is expected to spike.

Cuomo said during his daily press conference on COVID-19 that efforts to engage in social distancing and limit the density of people “may be working.” 

The governor cited Tuesday projections that showed a doubling of hospitalization numbers is expected to occur every 4.7 days, compared to a Sunday projection that had shown every two days. 

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“Now, that is almost too good to be true,” he said, adding that the data indicates about 15 percent of people who test positive need hospitalization.

“This is everything,” he added. “Slowing the hospitalization rates coming into the hospitals are everything so the hospitals can deal with the rate of people coming in.”

Cuomo called it a “very good sign and a positive sign,” but he acknowledged that he’s “not 100 percent it holds or it’s accurate” because of the fluid nature of projections. 

“But the arrows are headed in the right direction and that is always better than the arrows heading in the wrong direction,” he said. 

New York has become a U.S. epicenter for the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 30,000 cases and 285 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon, according to The New York Times, which reports that deaths have doubled approximately every three days in the state.

Cuomo said the projected peak of people needing hospitalization in New York is about 21 days away.

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The governor discussed his efforts to increase New York hospital beds by more than 50 percent, saying the state has 53,000 and may eventually need 140,000. He had previously instructed hospitals to increase their capacity by at least 50 percent but strive for 100 percent. 

Cuomo announced that because New York City has fewer vehicles out due to the stay-at-home order, it will close down streets to give more space and decrease the density of people congregating at parks.

He also said the state will enact “mandatory playground social density,” meaning no close-contact sports, including basketball.