Governor Cuomo: Elective surgeries can return to Suffolk County hospitals

Elective surgeries, mostly on hold in New York State since mid-March, can once again be scheduled in Suffolk County, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced at his daily media briefing Saturday.

Mr. Cuomo said hospitals now have the capacity to perform the surgeries and outpatients care in both Suffolk and Westchester counties. He had previously reopened other parts of the state to those services, with the first counties announced in late April. A majority of New York’s counties reopened to elective surgeries this week.

“We want to make sure people who need ambulatory services are getting ambulatory services,” he said. “You need a medical procedure we want to make sure you get it.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said Saturday afternoon that county officials were still waiting for the governor to approve the executive order to bring the procedures back on line at local hospitals. But he said he agreed local hospitals now have the capacity to handle it.

While Suffolk — and Long Island as a whole — has not met all the key metrics to allow a reopening, hospital capacity guidelines have been met. The latest numbers reported by the county show nearly 900 hospital beds are available with only 539 patients being treated for COVID-19 as of Thursday.

When hospitals were ordered by the state to stop elective procedures on March 22, only 116 patients were being treated for the coronavirus in Suffolk County. That grew to a peak of 1,658 patients on April 10.

The governor also announced Saturday that horse racing tracks will reopen across New York State on June 1, though crowds will not be allowed. Auto racing at Watkins Glenn is also expected to return at that time, Mr. Cuomo said.