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COVID-19 hospitalizations decline but hospitals are still stressed

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Although COVID-19 hospitalization numbers have decreased significantly, Monroe County health officials say hospital systems are still strained.

According to URMC’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Apostolakos, COVID-19 in-patient numbers have decreased from over 400 patients towards the height of the pandemic to about 120 patients.

However, Apostolakos said that each hospital is now seeing a return to many tuypes of patients including those with non-COVID illnesses, which results in hospital staff being overworked and overwhelmed. 

“It's a lot of stress from working, from worrying about family members, from worrying about loved ones, from worrying about their jobs,” said Apostolakos. 

He said hospital staff have been working at a high level, continuously, for 18 months, and the community should do its part to help relieve the healthcare system.

“What could help our institutions and our staff more than anything is if our community were to get vaccinated fully,” said Apostolakos.

He said if at least 70-80% of the eligible population gets the vaccine it will help lessen the burden. He said the majority of patients with COVID-19 related symptoms are unvaccinated.

Racquel Stephen is a health and environment reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.