SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled to the New York State Fairgrounds Monday for an update on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts, including an announcement on the state fair, financial assistance to feed New Yorkers, and more.

New numbers

The governor announced the following data:

  • 61,634 COVID-19 tests reported Sunday statewide
  • 0.52% positivity rate
  • 7 new COVID-19 deaths statewide
  • 617 hospitalized
  • 163 in ICU
  • 92 intubated

“Here is the fact: New York state had the highest COVID-19 positivity in the country, if not the globe,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’ve gone from that point to today, where New York has virtually the lowest positivity rate in the country. We’re managing COVID, it’s going well, and at the same time we’re reimagining, rebuilding to make it better than before.”


The state’s vaccination progress, according to the governor Monday, is as follows:

  • 20,099,155 total doses administered statewide to date
  • 11,127,696 New Yorkers with at least one dose
  • 9,808,073 New Yorkers full vaccinated

New York is teetering on the edge of a major lift of remaining coronavirus restrictions. Last week Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that once 70% of New Yorkers 18 and older received at least one vaccine dose, most of the remaining COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted.

As of Monday, 69.9% of that age demographic statewide had received at least one vaccine dose, according to the governor.

“We’re going to hit 70%, it’s just a matter of time,” Gov. Cuomo said. “70% is a great milestone. The president set a goal of 70% nationwide by July 4, but we will reach it earlier than anyone thought. Our progress is much more advanced that anyone thought — we beat all those predictions. When we hit 70%, it means it’s working, and we have to keep moving. It’s the last run around the track, we need one more push to get the COVID beast under control.”

One the 70% threshold is reached, cleaning and disinfection, social distancing, health screenings, and contract tracing will be lifted for retail, food services, offices, gyms, amusement parks, barbershops and hair salons.

There will be exceptions to the state’s rollback. The governor said last week that COVID-19 health protocols will still be in place for large-scale event venues, schools pre-k to 12th grade, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care facilities. Unvaccinated people would still be required to keep a social distance of six-feet and wear a face mask.

The governor said the state will turn its focus to areas of low vaccination rate.

“The bottom 10%, that are below 38% vaccination rate, we want to focus on these zip codes,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I want local governments to pay attention to these zip codes — these are the places we’re going to target to get these rates up.”

The governor said the state is also focusing on younger people in order to increase New York’s vaccination efforts.

“Focus on the demographics,” Gov. Cuomo said. “12 to 17-year-olds are the lowest, because they are young, ‘immune to everything.’ One of the incentives we have, is they would be eligible for a raffle for a full scholarship to a state school; room and board.”

The state has offered some other incentives for vaccination, including baseball ticketstwo-day passes to state parks, and a lottery entry for $5 million. Monday the governor announced a public transit incentive as well.

“We are going to have a relationship with six Upstate New York public transportation services,” Gov. Cuomo said. “You get a shot, you get a seven-day free transportation pass.”

State Fair

The governor announced a change to the plans for the New York State Fair, which will be open to 100% capacity.

“We changed the guidelines for the state fair,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The facts changed, we’re going to reopen the state fair at 100% — everything will be open; all the buildings, all the events, it will be the state fair that we’re all so proud of, because the fair is just a beautiful representative of the state.”

Initially, the governor announced the state fair would permit 50% capacity back in April.

The governor said the fair generates approximately $100 million in economic activity for the state.

“We want to push it,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’re coming back in a big way; get a vaccination and enjoy the state of New York.”

The governor said unvaccinated attendees would be asked to wear a mask or face covering, but said that the policy would be an honor system and no one would be checking for vaccination verification.

According to the governor’s office:

“Under the expanded State Fair model announced today, more New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the State’s best live music and entertainment, Midway amusement rides, agriculture education and awareness, as well as food and drink, including the Fair’s most iconic culinary experiences which include the Pizze Fritte, 25-cent New York milk, sausage sandwiches, and wine slushies. The Fair will run for 18 days, which is the longest duration ever for this annual event, while the admission price is lower than it has been in years.

So far, the following State Fair concerts have been announced, with large concerts taking place at the Chevy Park stage in the New York Experience Stage for proper distancing, and the smaller ones taking place at Chevy Court:

LoCash, Friday, August 20 with time to be announced
Nas, Friday, August 20 at 8 p.m.
98 Degrees, Saturday, August 21 at 2 p.m.
RATT, Saturday, August 21 with time to be announced
Brothers Osborne, Sunday, August 22, 8 p.m.
Bishop Briggs, Monday, August 23 with time to be announced.
Foreigner, Monday, August 23 at 8 p.m.
Dire Straits Legacy, Tuesday, August 24 with time to be announced
Train, Tuesday, August 24 at 8 p.m.
REO Speedwagon, Wednesday, August 25 at 8 p.m.
Three Dog Night, Thursday, August 26 with time to be announced
Bell Biv Devoe, Thursday, August 26 at 8 p.m.
Sister Sledge, Friday, August 27 at 2 p.m.
Melissa Etheridge, Friday, August 27 at 8 p.m.
Vixen and Great White, Saturday, August 28 with time to be announced.
Noah Cyrus, Sunday, August 29 at 2 p.m.
Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Sunday, August 29 with time to be announced
Dropkick Murphys, Sunday, August 29 at 8 p.m. Pat Noone, Monday, August 30 at 2 p.m. Grandson, Monday, August 30 at 7 p.m.
The Oak Ridge Boys, Tuesday, August 31 at 2 p.m.
Halestorm, Tuesday, August 31 at 8 p.m.
Sheena Easton, Wednesday, September 1 at 2 p.m.
Blue Oyster Cult, Wednesday, September 1 with time to be announced
Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Thursday, September 2 with time to be announced
Uncle Kracker, Friday, September 3 at 2 p.m.

As always, farm animals on display at the Fair introduce the young and young-at-heart to New York’s vast agriculture industry. The Agriculture Competitions at the 2021 Reimagined State Fair will include the following categories:

  • Llama
  • Goats
  • Dairy Cattle
  • Beef Cattle
  • Horses (limited)
  • Fine Arts Exhibition

Tickets will be $3 per person, with children under 12 admitted free of charge. Attendees will be required to follow COVID-19 health guidance from the Department of Health that is in effect at the time of the event. Further details on Fair ticket sales and on specific rules for guests will be announced by mid-July and are subject to change with the State’s health guidance. Please visit the New York State Fair website for more information.”

With a low and steady positivity rate, the governor announced New York would launch a $40 million international tourism campaign focused on Upstate New York.

“Getting the tourism industry going is the fastest way to bringing back the economy,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Food assistance

The governor announced $2.2 billion in financial assistance for good to help New Yorkers hit hardest economically by the pandemic.

“A lot of people who are power, and lower income — they paid the brunt during COVID,” Gov. Cuomo said. “You look at the children who had to do remote learning, you look at children in households where they lost their jobs; they tend to be poorer, low income communities. Beginning today, $2.2 billion in food assistance will be available to families in New York. Everyone should have enough to eat.”

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