Local Hospital Officials Provide COVID-19 Update, Vaccine Distribution Plan

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Local hospital officials provided an update Tuesday on the coronavirus and vaccine distribution in the Capital Region.

Albany Medical Center has been identified by the state as the Capital Region hub to come up with a plan to get the vaccine out across the region. President and CEO of Albany Med, Dr. Dennis McKenna says both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe and effective. He says the initial focus will be on the vulnerable, underserved and at risk populations in the Capital Region to get vaccinated.

So far, nearly 1,000 people at Albany Med have received the vaccine.

Dr. Ferdinand Venditti, the Hospital General Director at Albany Med, says there are currently 417 patients in hospitals across the region being treated for COVID-19 with 70 people in the ICU. If the numbers keep rising at an alarming rate, then elective surgeries may be put on hold. He says that measure could possibly be taken to ensure there is enough bed capacity in local hospitals.

While bed capacity is not an issue in Capital Region hospitals right now, staffing is a concern that local officials are monitoring. Dr. Steven Hanks, Chief Clinical Officer at St. Peter's Health Partners, says there is an anticipated rise in coronavirus hospitalizations after the holiday season in mid January. He says he is worried about having enough staff to take care of the patients coming in.

Local hospital officials say they meet daily to discuss coronavirus related matters.

More information about a coronavirus vaccine distribution plan is expected to be released soon.

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