After “Dark Days,” leaders plan for possible COVID spike and flu “twindemic”

Coronavirus

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In his new interview for NewsChannel 9’s “Dark Days” documentary, Dr. Stephen Thomas, the infectious disease chief at Upstate Medical University, says “it’s not over.”

While the coronavirus spread has stabilized in Central New York and New York State, people studying the pandemic worry about the density of students back in school and the way illness spreads in the fall and winter seasons.

“We’ve moved the needle quite a bit, but we’re all ramping up for fall season,” Upstate University Hospital’s CEO tells NewsChannel 9. He asks, “Are we going to have this ‘twindemic,’ where we have flu and COVID? We worry about it overwhelming the system again.”

Onondaga County’s Commissioner of Emergency Management, Dan Wears, says: “We talk about that anticipation of that first case. We have the same anticipation about a spike. Not that I think it’s going to happen, it’s my job to prepare if it does happen.”

Commissioner Wears says the days of a “wild, wild west” -like fight for protective gear are mostly behind them. Onondaga County has been able to build a stockpile of masks, gowns, and hand sanitizer in case the availability plummets again.

Upstate Hospital, which has been a massive contributor to Central New York’s ability to test people for coronavirus, is scouting locations in the event more testing is needed this fall or winter.

CEO Dr. Robert Corona says, “We’re looking at every possible option included abandoned car washes to see if we can do (testing) drive-thrus… looking at options at state fairgrounds.”

All the leaders agree that the “Dark Days” over the last six months have shined light on new information to protect Central New York if it happens again.


“Dark Days: Six Months of Coronavirus,” the 30-minute documentary that aired on NewsChannel 9, is available in its entirety on LocalSYR.com.

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