ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a briefing Thursday to update New Yorkers on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts.
The governor announced the following data:
- 271,463 COVID-19 tests reported statewide Wednesday
- 2.87% positivity rate overall statewide
- 57 new deaths
- 4,538 hospitalizations
- 934 in ICU
- 590 intubated
The governor announced that as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday, 7,121,844 COVID-19 doses had been administered in New York, with 2,482,738 New Yorkers being fully vaccinated and 4,772,029 people who had received at least one dose.
Gov. Cuomo announced starting April 1, outdoor venues with 2,500+ capacity can begin hosting live concerts and shows at 20% capacity. He said as COVID rates improve, capacity will continue to increase.
“I think you’re going to see the capacity increase and the testing requirements decrease as we get more evidence, but we want to start safe and smart,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The governor said starting March 29, statewide travel for sports and recreational activities will be permitted. Previously, travel for sports was limited to contiguous counties and regions.
“I’m very excited about the news today,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It has been a long dark winter. It’s been a long dark year, it’s been the darkest experience we’ve gone through in generations. Lets be honest, you’d have to go back to World War II to have an experience of this magnitude, and this death, and its been difficult in a lot of levels.”
Joining the governor for Thursday’s briefing was representatives from the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, as well as former players Al Leiter and CC Sabathia.
The governor announced beginning April 1, sports venues with 1,500+ indoor capacity or 2,500+ outdoor capacity can increase attendance to 10% capacity and 20% capacity, respectively. Gov. Cuomo said proof of negative test or immunization will be required for attendance and that requirement will be re-evaluated in mid-May.
This is a big development for the Rochester Red Wings, who this week told News 8 that the 10% capacity restriction was the biggest obstacle to overcome in bringing fans back to games.
“So we’re going to play ball and we’re going to play ball with a crowd, which I tell you is just so good for the psyche,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Getting out of the house, getting out of the apartment, getting out of this entrapment we’ve been in and going to a game and getting outside — hope springs enteral. We’re going to win.”
On Wednesday, the governor received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine during a media appearance at pop-up vaccination site at Mount Neboh Baptist Church in New York City.
“I got my first vaccine yesterday,” Gov. Cuomo said Thursday. “I took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. First of all its only one shot, so you don’t have to go back twice, and it doesn’t require the super cold storage. It’s easier to handle and I took Johnson & Johnson J purposefully because I want New Yorkers to know first of all it is safe, and second of all take any vaccine you can get.”
Later on Wednesday during a conference call with media, the governor announced changes to the state’s COVID-19 curfew guidelines.
Starting April 5, the 11 p.m. curfew for gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys, casinos, and billiards halls will be lifted, but the curfew for restaurants and bars will remain in place for now with the New York State Department of Health to reassess these rules next month.
“The emotional toll that this has taken on people — I don’t think we’re going to begin to understand this for months,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I don’t think we’re going to begin to understand what happened to children who lost a year of school, in some cases, a year of socialization, but it’s coming to an end. Spring is upon us. Seasons change, times change, spring is upon us and spring is a new season and it is a new attitude and that’s where we are and we have to start thinking spring and reopening New York and rebuilding New York.
“Are we going to get through COVID?” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re getting through COVID and we’re going to be the better for it, and the smarter for it, and the more united for it, and our success through COVID and what we did, and the community of this state coming together is going to make our connections stronger.
“Spring is here it, is time to rise up and it is time for the Mets and the Yankees to bring home a championship this year and we say ‘play ball,'” Gov. Cuomo said.
When he was asked Wednesday about the ongoing controversies, investigations, and calls for his resignation, the governor again said he would not resign.
“I’m not going to resign,” Gov. Cuomo said Wednesday. “Find out the facts and we’ll take it from there.”
This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide updates as they become available.