BINGHAMTON N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled to Binghamton University Tuesday to give an update on the state’s pandemic response efforts, including the effort to open up walk-in vaccines for all New Yorkers over the age of 16.
The governor announced the following COVID-19 data:
- 103,765 COVID-19 rests reported in New York Monday
- 2,704 new confirmed cases
- 2.6% statewide positivity rate Monday
- 26 new COVID-19 deaths statewide
- 3,184 New Yorkers hospitalized (down 689 from last week)
- 728 in ICU
- 461 intubated
The seven-day average positivity rates by region are as follows:
- Western New York — 3.4%
- Finger Lakes — 2.7%
- Mid-Hudson — 2.3%
- New York City — 2.1%
- Long Island — 2.1%
- Capital Region — 1.6%
- Mohawk Valley — 1.4%
- North Country — 1.3%
- Central New York — 1.2%
- Southern Tier — 0.7%
The governor announced that New York would adopt new CDC guidance on Americans who are fully vaccinated not being required to wear masks outdoors.
“The CDC announced today new guidance saying for Americans who are fully vaccinated, when you are outside; biking, hiking running, or in small gatherings — you don’t need to wear a mask, if you are fully vaccinated,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Means one shot of Johnson & Johnson, two shots of Pfizer Moderna, but they are saying you don’t nee to wear a mask. That is liberating now that the weather is warmer. New York has adopted that guidance so that’s going to go in effect in New York state.”
U.S. health officials Tuesday said fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks outdoors anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers, and those who are unvaccinated can go without a face covering outside in some cases, too.
For most of the past year, the CDC had been advising Americans to wear masks outdoors if they are within 6 feet of each other.
The CDC guidance says that fully vaccinated or not, people do not have to wear masks outdoors when they walk, bike or run alone or with members of their household. They also can go maskless in small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated people.
Unvaccinated people — defined by the CDC as those who have yet to receive both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson formula — should wear masks at outdoor gatherings that include other unvaccinated people. They also should keep using masks at outdoor restaurants.
Fully vaccinated people do not need to cover up in those situations, the CDC says. However, everyone should keep wearing masks at crowded outdoor events such as concerts or sporting events, the CDC says. The agency continues to recommend masks at indoor public places, such as hair salons, restaurants, shopping centers, museums and movie theaters.
The governor announced all state-run vaccination sites will allow walk-in shots beginning Thursday for all New Yorkers 16 and older.
“We’re now at a different place where we have open appointments at mass vaccination sites and vaccine sites almost all across the state,” Gov. Cuomo said. “So first step is we’re going to open up all state mass vaccine sites, this Thursday, to just get walk-in vaccinations. You don’t have to call, you don’t have to make an appointment. All New Yorkers 16-plus, just come in to a mass vaccination site starting Thursday and you are eligible for a vaccine. So for the people who felt, ‘well I’m not comfortable going on the internet, I don’t want to call, I don’t want to talk to a lot of people.” All the obstacles are removed, all the barriers are removed; just show up and roll up your sleeves and the mass vaccination sites have capacity to handle it.”
The two sites for 16+ walk-ins in the Finger Lakes region are:
- Rochester Dome Arena, 2695 East Henrietta Road, Henrietta NY
- Former Kodak Hawkeye Parking Lot, 1345 St. Paul Street, Rochester, NY
The governor added the state is allowing all local health departments to allow walk-in appointments as well — a measure Monroe County instituted last week.
“We’re also allowing all local health departments that operate, all local sites, county sites — it’s their option and they can go to total walk-in where nobody needs an appointment,” Gov. Cuomo said. “This is our way of saying if you were intimidated by the process of trying to make an appointment, that’s gone — no appointment needed, just come in and get a vaccine.”
The governor said the vaccine is the best way to get back to normal, pre-pandemic life.
“The more people vaccinated, the faster we defeat this disease once and for all — that is a fact,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The more people vaccinated, the sooner we get back to life as normal, and the more lives we save.”
The governor said those who are skeptical of the vaccine just need to look at the millions of those who have already received to show it is safe and effective.
“You don’t have to be the first — 14 million people in New York state have taken a shot. That is a body of proof,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We have to get vaccinated and the last point is this: People will say ‘well I don’t want to get the vaccine for myself and it’s my decision.’ That is true, it is your decision. Nobody can tell you that you have to get the vaccine. It’s your body, it’s your right, but I would ask you to. Think about this: You are not alone in this life, you are not alone in this world.”
As COVID-19 cases have steadily decreased statewide and vaccination efforts ramp up, state restrictions continue to loosen.
On Monday. Gov. Cuomo announced that beginning May 15, gyms, fitness centers, and casinos in New York can have 50% capacity. Indoor offices can also operate ay 75% capacity.
Also announced Monday, outdoor stadiums can have 33% spectator capacity, effective May 19.
During his visit to the State Fairgrounds on Monday the Governor also announced that the New York State Fair will return this summer with 50% capacity over all 18 days. He said the capacity restrictions were fluid, adding that he expects them to change as the coronavirus rates fluctuate.
The governor again denied that he ever touched anyone inappropriately.
Several current and former state employees and other women have accused the governor of made unwanted sexual remarks and advances, giving them unwanted kisses or touching them inappropriately.
One female aide said Cuomo groped her breasts after summoning her to his official residence last year.
“Have I touched people? Yes. I didn’t touch anybody inappropriately,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I have never touched anyone inappropriately and groping would be inappropriately.”
The governor has urged the public to await the results of investigations being conducted by Attorney General Letitia James and the state Assembly’s judiciary committee, which is exploring whether there are grounds to impeach him.
Watch the governor’s full press briefing
This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide updates as they become available.