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Erie County asks Albany to resume elective surgeries

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said Monday that there has been no downward trend in COVID-19 hospitalizations yet.

Across New York State, hospitals are hurting badly financially, squeezed between the costs of caring for COVID-19 patients and seeing income slashed because the state has banned elective surgeries. Some counties have been allowed to let their hospitals resume those procedures, with Niagara County reopening Tuesday. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he has been talking to Albany about adding Erie County to the list of counties allowing elective operations.

"Have already make recommendation to the state that I believe, based on my conversations with local hospital officials, that we can begin, once again, elective surgeries in hospitals, at least on a limited basis," he said. "We have not gotten word back as to whether that would be approved yet. I am in touch with the governor's office and I know they are looking at that."

Poloncarz said it depends on the trends of the coronoavirus.
"They are just looking for more data, to show that we're either at our peak or going down," he said. "If they feel that we're continuing to go up, I know they won't do it. We've been pretty flat."

The concern would be that the hospitalizations would suddenly surge and elective operations would have to be stopped again. The term elective surgery also is often attacked because for many patients a new hip is more than a choice, while cosmetic surgery can often be delayed.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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