Gov Cuomo: State will allow in-person graduation ceremonies, limits based on venue size, location

New York State

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with media Monday afternoon to update New Yorkers on the ongoing coronavirus response efforts.

Monday’s update on the statewide numbers:

  • Test Results Reported – 131,436
  • Total Positive – 4,926
  • Percent Positive – 3.75%
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive – 3.20%
  • Patient Hospitalization – 4,118 (+35)
  • Net Change Patient Hospitalization Past Week – -316
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 435
  • Hospital Counties – 55
  • Number ICU – 860 (-17)  
  • Number ICU with Intubation – 571 (-6)
  • Total Discharges – 167,955 (+373)
  • Deaths – 58
  • Total Deaths – 41,198

The governor said more than 12 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered as of Monday afternoon, adding that one in four New Yorkers were now fully vaccinated.

The governor also announced the state will allow gradation ceremonies, which will have different restrictions based on venue size and location of the event.

Effective May 1:

  • Rules are dependent on size and location of the ceremony
  • Outdoor events:
    • Large-scale ceremonies of 500 people: 20% of the venue’s capacity and proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test is required
    • Medium-scale ceremonies of 201-500 people: 33% of the venue’s capacity and proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test is required
    • Small-scale ceremonies of up to 200 people: 50% of the venue’s capacity and proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test is optional
  • Indoor events:
    • Large-scale ceremonies of over 150 people: 10% of the venue’s capacity and proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test is required
    • Medium-scale ceremonies of 100-150 people: 33% of the venue’s capacity and proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test is required
    • Small-scale ceremonies of up to 100 people: 50% of the venue’s capacity and proof of vaccination or recent negative COVID-19 test is optional
  • For large events, schools and colleges will need to notify their local health department. For all events, face masks, social distancing, health screening, and contact information are required.
  • Virtual, drive-in or individual ceremonies are still the safest option and are encouraged over larger in-person events.

Earlier Monday the governor made an announcement at Suffolk County Community College, where a mass vaccination site has been set up at the college campus.

Since coming online last week, the SCCC site has administered more than 20,000 vaccine doses, Gov. Cuomo said.

“We are making progress, the numbers are better than they were, but we have not beaten COVID,” Gov Cuomo said. “Do not kid yourself. We can beat COVID, but we haven’t beaten COVID. This beast can flare up again, a new variant can flare up again. We still have to be diligent, and affirmative, and we need to get the vaccine in people’s arms. Yes, the vaccine can win the war, but we need people to take it.”

With all New Yorkers ages 16 and up now eligible to receive the vaccine, the governor said the state’s pandemic response now turns to younger residents, a demographic that has been seeing a recent surge in positivity rates.

“Young people are the focus now,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Young people have increasing infection rates. The numbers are going up and we need to get younger people vaccinated. I have heard three theories of people who are vaccine resistant. One is science theory. ‘I don’t think there’s enough data on the vaccine yet.’ OK, you’re a scientist: 12 million New Yorkers have taken the vaccine, nobody is asking you to go first. The second theory is the skeptic theory. ‘Government says take it, but I don’t trust the government.’ The entire medical community across the globe has accepted the efficacy of the vaccine. Third theory is the super hero theory. ‘I’m not afraid of COVID, COVID can’t hurt me.’ It’s especially prevalent among the young. If you’re young and you get it, you can still die. The chances are lower, but can it happen.”

The governor said SUNY would lead the effort to vaccinating students in campus facilities. The governor said the state would provide SUNY schools with vaccine supply to help get more younger people vaccinated.

“Yes we focused on older people and that was a priority, but we need herd immunity, and we need to vaccinate younger people,” Gov. Cuomo said. “SUNY will take the lead, but I encourage all colleges and universities to come forward and participate in this effort.”

The governor said New York state will provide a new, separate allocation of 35,000 vaccines to address the college student population at SUNY schools and private colleges. This initial allocation will include 21,000 vaccines to be administered to SUNY students and 14,000 vaccines to be administered at private colleges. The vaccines will be administered to residential and non-commuter students who are leaving for the summer.

Gov. Cuomo announcement at Suffolk County Community College

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

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