Cain Named to Regional Panel Monitoring COVID-19

Published June 4, 2020

Michael E. Cain, MD

Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has been appointed to serve on the Western New York Control Room, which monitors statistics related to COVID-19 in the region.


Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul first announced the appointment on May 19 via Twitter.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the creation of the control groups in early May as part of the New York Forward initiative to safely reopen the state’s economy.

Designed to Monitor Metrics During Reopenings

There are 10 regional control rooms across the state: Capital, Central, Finger Lakes, Mid-Hudson Valley, Long Island, Mohawk Valley, New York City, North Country, Southern Tier and Western New York. The Western New York region includes Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

The control rooms are designed to monitor metrics in each region during the reopening process.  

The metrics — which are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Department of State and other health experts — include hospitalization rate, death rate, number of new hospitalizations, hospital bed capacity, ICU bed capacity, testing and contact tracing.

If the metrics at any point fail to meet the state’s requirements, reopening plans will be adjusted.

Expertise in Education, Research, Clinical Care

“As New York continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and phase in our reopening across the state, we ensure our response is guided by data, facts and experts,” Hochul said on May 22. “I have asked Dr. Cain to advise our Western New York Regional Control Room, and I am pleased that he has agreed to provide valuable resources and insight to help us study the latest science on the coronavirus and its impact on our hospital system and community.”

“Together, with leaders from every county in the region, we will continue to monitor the latest trends to reduce the rate of transmission and safely reopen and rebuild Western New York better than ever before,” said Hochul, who is captain of the panel.

“I am most pleased to be a member of the Western New York Control Room,” Cain said. “Thoughtful people work together to balance the desire to reopen and the need to protect the public health. I learn from the group and at the same time bring expertise in areas of health science education, biomedical research and clinical care.”

Elected Officials, Labor Leaders Serving

In addition to Hochul and Cain, members of the Western New York Control Room include:

  • Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown
  • Allegany County Administrator Carissa Knapp
  • Richard Lipsitz, president of the Western New York Area Labor Federation
  • Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz
  • Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino
  • Cattaraugus County Administrator Jack Searies
  • Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist
  • Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel
  • Niagara County Legislator Becky Wydysh
  • Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development board chair