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Options for freeing up more hospital beds in the Finger Lakes region

Bob Duffy, President & CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce at a media briefing on Friday.
Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce
Bob Duffy, President & CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce at a media briefing on Friday.

As the hospitalization rate continues to increase in the Finger Lakes region, hospital and local government officials are looking for ways to free up more hospital beds.

One way that could happen, according to Bob Duffy, the president & CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, is by being able to move nursing home patients currently still in the hospital to a facility set up for patients infected by COVID-19.

Duffy also heads up a regional control board that helps provide data to the state on COVID-19 impacts.

“We’re working right now on trying to identify this COVID-only facility for these patients who are relatively healthy, coming out of a hospital, but based on the guidelines established by the state department of health, cannot go back to a nursing home.”  Duffy said there is no facility yet identified for those patients, but officials continue to look for one. He said that staffing is also an issue.

Duffy also said Friday that he is heartened by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement on Friday, that will reopen gyms and salons in orange zones.

Cuomo is allowing that to happen if those businesses reduce capacity and increase testing of employees.
Duffy notes that Cuomo mentioned in his briefing that the COVID-19 spread is due more to in-home gatherings, than businesses like gyms and barbershops.

“That they were still looking at ways to encourage people in these social events, gatherings, homes, (to) please be cognizant of the spread. But his announcement today was very helpful, and we have already an array of phone calls, emails here with owners who are ecstatic by that,” Duffy said.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.