Jacobs School dean appointed to panel monitoring COVID-19 in region

Release Date: May 26, 2020

Portrait of Jacobs School Dean Michael E. Cain.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences at the University at Buffalo and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, 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.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the creation of the control groups earlier this month as part of the New York Forward initiative to safely reopen the state’s economy.

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 are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, Department of State and other health experts.

They 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.

“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,”​ continued Hochul, who is the 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.”

In addition to Hochul and Cain, members of the Western New York Control Room include: Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development board chair; Richard Lipsitz, president of the Western New York Area Labor Board; Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz; Niagara County Legislator Becky Wydysh; Chautauqua County Executive P.J. Wendel; Cattaraugus County Administrator Jack Searies; Allegany County Administrator Carissa Knapp; City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino; and City of Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist.

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