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Stay up to date with the latest news on the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. We'll post regular updates from NPR and regional news from the WRVO newsroom. You can also find updates on our live blog.

Hospitals increasing ICU capacity in response to rising coronavirus cases

Hospitals are making plans to deal with the current surge of COVID-19 cases in central New York, expanding their ICU capabilities, according to Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.

"In the event that you have 84 people in the hospital, some of them get sicker and you gotta be ready.”

He says right now 84 people are hospitalized with the virus, one less than a record of 85 set last May.  Hospitalizations started spiking in the midst of a surge of coronavirus cases that started shortly after the Halloween weekend. McMahon says the good news is people are spending on average four days in the hospital, compared to 20 last spring, because of improved treatments.  But he says the hospitals can’t rely on that to help.

"If you saw a situation where the turn times get worse from people entering the hospital sick to getting better, then that will create more of a backup and the infrastructure will get strained.”

McMahon says Onondaga County still has plans it created last fall to deal with hospitals in case they become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.