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Health & Medicine

COVID-19 Update: St. Joseph's Hospital CEO Believes We Are Past Hospitalization Peak

Onondaga County Executive's Office

The President and CEO of St. Joseph's Hospital believes that Onondaga County has past its peak in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Leslie Luke said they have been able to set up special units for coronavirus patients and have enough ventilators.

"As it stands today, for us, the data that we have, it appears that we have passed the peak," said Luke. "On average, we're having maybe about 1.5 admissions per day. We're anticipating over time that's going to decrease."

There are 18 COVID-19 patients at St. Joseph's. Luke said the hospital is prepared to start elective surgeries again once the Governor allows.

County Executive Ryan McMahon said two more people have died as a result of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, but the percentage of the county's active cases in the hospital seems to be on a slow downward trajectory. Now, Onondaga County is shifting to more proactive testing. McMahon said they are focused on residents and employees of nursing homes, assisted and independent living facilities. 

"The pending test number may be going up over the next few days," said McMahon. "That's because we're implementing this new strategy and we're playing offense with this virus."

McMahon said that even though the data seems to be trending in a positive direction, everyone needs to continue to abide by social distancing practices, which includes wearing masks and staying six feet apart. He also acknowledged those who are angry with the extended pause order from Governor Cuomo. 

"From the standpoint of folks who are getting very anxious about the economic ruin that many organizations and families are potentially facing, I get it," said McMahon. "And we're starting that planning process. But don't focus in on what the new dates are, let's focus in on the fact that we knew we had to get through April anyways."

Onondaga County leaders continue to work with nearby counties to draft a regional restart plan that they will bring to the state if health data warrants it.