NewsLocal News


Sen. Chuck Schumer addresses rising COVID-19 hospitalizations in WNY

Screen Shot 2021-12-12 at 10.24.09 PM.png
Posted at 11:19 PM, Dec 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-12 23:19:36-05

WARSAW, N.Y. (WKBW) — On Sunday New York Senator Chuck Schumer completed his annual county tour of the state in Wyoming County.

“The crisis is far from over,” Sen. Schumer said. “This year was the most important year of my county tour.”

“Infection rates in our region are spiking and our hospitals are over capacity,” CEO of Wyoming County Community Health Services Joe McTernan said.

In the last fourteen days, COVID-19 hospitalization rates have increases by 72% in Wyoming County.

“We need all hands-on deck to care for the increasing number of patients being admitted while addressing the burden of increased costs required to provide this care,” McTernan said.

On Monday Governor Kathy Hochul ordered hospitals with less than ten percent staffed bed capacity to stop elective surgery, impacting 7 Western New York hospitals.

“If they don’t get money for elective surgery, they can’t pay all their employees,” Sen. Schumer said. “And if you lose a nurse or clerical worker, and they never come back, as we’re seeing, that’s terrible.”

Now Senator Schumer is proposing a two-part plan to help address the issue.

“I’m asking HSS [Department of Health and Human Services] to get the money out ASAP, they can’t wait,” Sen. Schumer said.

Senator Schumer said there are $17 billion to be allocated to hospitals. And he is asking the Department of Health and Human Services to use updated data when deciding how much money to allocate to each hospital.

“And prioritize the hospitals that are facing the current crisis, like Wyoming,” Sen. Schumer said.

So far, Wyoming Community Hospital has received $6.25 million in relief funds since the start of the pandemic.

“The response has been 21 months long,” McTernan said. “And although tired, our team continues to provide exceptional care for all those who come through our doors.”

And Sen. Schumer said this must be addressed promptly.

“We have a specific problem at many upstate hospitals,” Sen. Schumer said. “We need to get the money out quickly and I am going to fight tooth and nail.”