ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a coronavirus briefing Friday to update New Yorkers regarding the state’s ongoing response efforts.
On day 321 of the pandemic in New York state, the governor provided the following data:
- 324,671 COVID-19 tests reported statewide Thursday (a single-day record)
- 6.14% positivity rate overall statewide
- 183 new COVID-19 deaths statewide
- 8,805 hospitalizations
- 1,570 in ICU
- 962 intubated
The governor said the Finger Lakes region is among the highest in the state in terms of positivity rate at 7.63%, but the distinction of highest now belongs to the Mohawk Valley.
The governor did said the Finger Lakes region is the worst upstate region for hospital systems using their respective vaccine supply:
“They have a high positivity rate in the Finger Lakes, you’d think that’s the population that most wants the vaccine,” Gov. Cuomo said.
A breakdown of Finger Lakes hospital systems and their vaccination performance:
“Finger Lakes you have some at 100%,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Rochester General 85%, Strong is 100% — that’s why they call it Strong — and then you have on the lower performing, 62% but that’s the range in that region.”
The governor said the CDC’s expansion of the vaccination-eligible population is frustrating, because the federal government hasn’t increased the vaccine supply. In fact, the supply decreased this week for New York state.
“You increase the eligibility, you don’t increase the supply, and now you have a very complicated situation,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Not only did we not get more supply, we actually got less this week. We went from 300,000 doses to 250,000. What they did was like opening the flood gates of eligibility and you have a rush of 7 million people.”
Depending how the CDC defines immunocompromised, and those with underlying conditions, the eligibility pool could balloon to up to 12 million people, according to the governor.
“Pre-existing conditions can go from heart disease to diabetes, from obesity to smoking, to COPD,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re looking at numbers on how we could define that category and we’re hoping that we can get more federal allocation so we can make any of this possible.”
The incoming 250,000 doses is only the first dose. So those who have already gotten their first shot, should not be concerned about vaccination shortage as they’re second dose is already accounted for.
The governor cited scientists’ projections that herd immunity will not be accomplished until 70%-90% of the population is vaccinated. With that percentage in mind, he said the 18.3% of health care workers in the Finger Lakes region denied the vaccine.
“No one wants to go into a hospital and be vaccinated by a nurse who has COVID,” Gov. Cuomo said. “You don’t help people that way.”
The governor also addressed the frustrations people are facing with trying to set up appointments on the state’s website. Many people were reporting the website crashing or pages not loading.
The site essentially was set up as a one stop shop to connect residents with the sites near them who can administer the vaccine. However due to an overwhelming volume of visitors the website was malfunctioning.
Watch the full press briefing:
The governor’s office said the site has since been restructured to handle the additional traffic.
Reiterating a sentiment from this week’s four-day State of the State address, the governor said Washington owes New York state $15 billion.
“It’s half of the SALT money they [federal government] took from us over the last four years, and I consider that theft money,” Gov. Cuomo said.
Following a State Supreme Court ruling in Erie County on indoor dining Wednesday, New York state has changed its guidance temporarily for COVID-19 orange zones in regards to restaurants.
Yellow zone rules for indoor dining requires 50% capacity, six feet between tables, all staff to wear masks, and customers to wear masks while not seated. Other rules include four people maximum per table, and all bars and restaurants are to close at 10 p.m.
Some local bars are asking to stay open past curfew this Saturday for the Buffalo Bills game against the Baltimore Ravens which is scheduled at 8:15 p.m. Some local restaurant owners have said people won’t come, just to be force to leave at half time — instead, choosing congregate in homes to watch the game.
MORE | Gov. Cuomo’s 2021 State of the State: Beat COVID, invest in future, address systemic injustice
On Thursday, the governor finished his State of the State Address — which began on Monday — introducing the plans for the year which included plans to defeat COVID-19, vaccinate New York, transition to green energy, bring back the arts scene and more.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we continue to update this developing story.