Gov. Cuomo on orange zone upgrade: ‘No crystal ball, not in the prophesizing business’

New York State

ALBANY, NY – APRIL 17: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gives his a press briefing about the coronavirus crisis on April 17, 2020 in Albany, New York.Cuomo along with governors from other East Coast states are extending their shutdown of nonessential businesses to May 15. “We have to continue doing what we’re doing. I’d like to see that infection rate get down even more…”, he said. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

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

On day 265 of the pandemic in New York state, the governor offered the following data:

  • 205,466 COVID-19 tests (single-day high for New York state_
  • 5,468 new COVID-19 cases
  • 2.6% positivity rate overall statewide
  • 2.15% positivity rate outside of micro-clusters
  • 4.5% positivity rate in micro-clusters
  • 32 New Yorkers died Thursday from COVID-19
  • 2,348 hospitalized
  • 445 in ICU
  • 205 intubated

The governor said the regional positivity rates for Thursday were as follows:

  • Western New York — 4.8%
  • Mid-Hudson Valley — 3.8%
  • Central New York — 3.7%
  • Rochester & Finger Lakes — 3.5%
  • Capital Region — 2.2%
  • Long Island — 3.1%
  • Mohawk Valley — 2.5%
  • New York City — 2.5%
  • North Country — 1.8%
  • Southern Tier — 1.1%

Although the daily new cases and hospitalizations are on the rise, the governor says that context is important relative to how New York is doing compared to the rest of the nation.

“Yes our numbers are going up, because they’re all going up, but they’re going up from a base that is much lower and they’re going up much slower because the strategy and the rules work,” Gov. Cuomo said. “And if we maintain the strategy, and the rules, the numbers will stay low. Will they go up? Yes, but they will go up slowly, and if they go up slowly we are fine.”

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The governor said New York’s rules are conservative compared to other states.

“Our standard is one of the tightest standards in the country,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Context here is very very important because I want New Yorkers to have confidence in the rules we are setting. Our rules are not different than other rules, our triggers are lower than other states, and hence our performance is much better than other states.”

The governor emphasized the importance of communities taking precaution to protect their neighborhoods.

“You decide your own destiny, and if you follow the rules you’re fine,” Gov. Cuomo said. “If you don’t, you’re not fine, and if you’re not fine, the rules change on you.”

Citing the turnaround in Broome County, the governor said the cluster zone strategies have proven successful.

“It works,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’ve seen communities go to a red zone and come out.”

Locally, all eyes have been on Monroe County’s yellow zone micro-cluster, with many wondering if it will be upgraded to an orange zone, but the governor didn’t have a firm answer about that Friday.

“People ask me ‘when do we go to an orange zone?'” Gov. Cuomo said. “I have no crystal ball and I’m not in the prophecy business. I can prophesize about Emmy Awards coming up, but besides that I am not in the prophecy business.”

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The governor again urged New Yorkers to not be reckless during the upcoming holidays.

“It is a social season,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It is the socialization that’s a problem. Socialization is human behavior and human behavior is what this is all about.”

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