SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — We are more than two years into the coronavirus pandemic. While hospitalizations aren’t as high as they were even a few months ago, hospitals are seeing a steady increase in patients now that Central New York has become the epicenter of the omicron variants.

“We certainly are just like every other place,” said Dr. Philip Falcone, the Chief Medical Officer at St. Joseph’s Health. “We are seeing an increase in the number of COVID positive patients. Thus far we’re managing it, but yes, it’s definitely increased. Approximately 10% of our patients right now are COVID positive.”

On Thursday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon tweeted hospitals are stressed, writing that Upstate University Hospital COVID patients made up 7 percent of their total patients.

Back at St. Joseph’s Health, Dr. Falcone said they’re also treating patients for other illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.

“One of the factors that we look at is Case Mix Index. It’s now showing that the severity and the complexity of the diseases that we’re taking care of in the patients we’re seeing is higher than what it was even two years ago. So, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that people just maybe didn’t get things done,” Falcone said.

Every industry has staffing challenges and this increase adds to it, but Dr. Falcone said everyone is pitching in.

“We’re flexing, moving around, adjusting our staffing levels to try to meet the demand. We’re doing what we can in the Emergency Department,” Falcone said.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If it’s truly an emergency, go to the hospital, but otherwise check with your doctor to see if you can be treated by them
  • Get your vaccine and if eligible, your booster
  • Wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces
  • Wash your hands often and use sanitizer

Upstate University Hospital provided this statement:

“Upstate has about 40 Covid patients today and we are admitting in the range of two to 15 Covid patients a day. About 65 percent of these patients are admitted for treatment of Covid and about 35 percent have an incidental finding of Covid, meaning they are in the hospital for another health matter and have tested positive for Covid. This amounts to about 7 percent of our patient population. The hospital continues to be busy accepting transfers, when possible, from other facilities and providing patients from all around the region with needed care, some of who have postponed treatment due to the pandemic.”