Gov. Cuomo on Bills fans attending playoff games: ‘It’s a work in progress’


ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with media Tuesday to give an update regarding the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts.

On day 297 of the coronavirus pandemic in New York, the governor provided the following data:

  • 164,868 COVID-19 tests Monday in New York
  • 5.8% positivity rate overall statewide
  • 6.8% positivity rate in micro-cluster hotspots
  • 5.5% positivity rate outside micro-cluster hotspots
  • 139 New Yorkers died Monday from COVID-19
  • 6,661 New Yorkers currently hospitalized with COVID-19
  • 1,126 in ICU
  • 614 intubated

The governor said Monday’s hospitalization rate increased from the day prior, but it wasn’t all bad news.

“That number is a two grains of salt number because the admissions into hospitals has been about flat, but the discharges are lower then they have been for some unexplained reason,” Gov. Cuomo said. “So the net number is higher, but the admissions is not necessarily higher.”

Still, the governor maintains that hospital capacity is the No. 1 focus as the virus surges into the winter.

“The hospital capacity is a concern for New York,” Gov. Cuomo said. “You see California now has a hospital emergency and is rationing healthcare. So that gives you a sense of the ultimate collapse there could be the collapse of a hospital system that was Italy. We’re keeping a eye on the hospital capacity. Our metric is if a hospital is 21 days from 85% capacity, meaning then only have 15% capacity left, then they have to tell us: High alert. That would effectively give us a month notice before we run into a real hospital situation. No hospital in the state has told us they’re at that point.”

The governor again urged New Yorkers to treat the looming holidays with caution to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

“We do have Kwanza coming, we have Christmas coming, we have New Years Eve coming, we have New Years day coming,” Gov. Cuomo said. “So we expect the numbers to go up and the motto on my unofficial season’s greeting card, and the model that the state is going to be promulgating through various means over the holidays: ‘Celebrate smart, stop shutdowns.’ It’s been a long year, celebrate. I’m going to celebrate, but celebrate smart and stop shutdowns.”

Following up on Monday’s briefing, where the governor asked airlines coming into New York state from the United Kingdom to require COVID-19 tests beforehand, he reiterated the potential danger of the new virus strain,

MORE | Gov. Cuomo: New COVID-19 strain found in United Kingdom is ‘very concerning’

“Boris Johnson shut down the UK one week after he said he would never shut it down for Christmas,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The reason he shut it down, and did a 180 degree shift, was because they found a variant on the virus.

“I think the US should say ‘we should test before anyone comes from any country because the UK variant now has already migrated,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Learn the lesson from the spring. The virus was in China, the virus got on an airplane and within days the virus was global.”

The governor said the state is now contacting hospitals across the state to test for the variant virus specifically.

“Dr. Fauci said he believes the variant is already here [in the country],” Gov. Cuomo said. “Not that he has evidence of that but I assume he’s referring to the phenomenon of global spread and how quickly it spreads.”

The governor said that as of Tuesday’s update, the state had administered about 50,000 vaccines.

“We are very aggressive about our vaccination program,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Again, there is no politics in the distribution of the vaccine. No mayor is in control, no county executive is in control, no supervisor is in control, local government have absolutely nothing to do with this, it’s all done by the hospitals.”

With mounting excitement regarding the Buffalo Bills clinching the division for the first time in decades, the governor said the New York State Department of Health is working with the NFL to see if it’s possible for fans to safely attend a playoff game.

“We are talking with the Bills,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re researching teams and protocols across the nation, the department of health is looking at an experimental model, working with data and testing, to see if there’s any way we could safely allow some fans into the game. We’re working with the Bills, its all a work in progress.”

When asked about a video that surfaced online recently from New York City, where people weren’t distancing or wearing masks, the governor simply said: “COVID conga lines aren’t smart.”

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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