ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a COVID-19 briefing Thursday afternoon to update New Yorkers on the state’s ongoing coronavirus response efforts.

On day 287 of the pandemic in New York state, the governor provided the following data:

  • 203,440 COVID-19 tests conducted Wednesday statewide
  • 9,855 new confirmed cases
  • 4.84% positivity rate overall statewide
  • 5.91% positivity rate in micro-cluster hotspots
  • 4.49% positivity rate outside of micro-cluster hotspots
  • 61 new COVID-19 deaths statewide
  • 4,063 New Yorkers hospitalized with the virus
  • 783 in ICU
  • 377 intubated

“It’s all about hospitalizations — hospitalization rate, hospitalization capacity,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Among the regions in New York state, the Finger Lakes and Western New York have the highest percent of hospitalization by population.

The governor encouraged Washington to pass a relief bill which includes funding for state and local governments.

“If 50 states go bankrupt, that’s bad for the country, because the country is 50 states,” Gov. Cuomo said.

A new proposal, called the First Down Payment legislation, is a $908 billion proposal that the governor says is a decent first step.

“We need help desperately, and something is better than nothing,” Gov. Cuomo said. “As a First Down Payment, I urge them [Congress] to get something done before they leave for Christmas. Families will not have a holiday if they don’t act, and if there’s no aid, but it’s a first down payment — it doesn’t come near to the need. It’s not nearly what the governors asked for in this country, but again something is better than nothing and we would support a First Down Payment bill.”

During Wednesday’s briefing, the governor announced that New York state could receive its first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine by December 15 — pending efficacy and safety approval by the Federal Drug Administration.

Officials say the initial delivery will be about 170,000 doses, with priority given to nursing home residents and staff first, and then patients and staff at hospital ICU units and COVID wings.

“This is the weapon that wins the COVID war, and we have to get serious about this,” Gov. Cuomo said Thursday. “The distribution is a massive undertaking by government and we have to be able to get the black and brown communities, and poor communities. There is no justification not to have a very aggressive outreach program for the black and brown community, but government is going to have to do its part.”

The governor said people need to start focusing on the vaccine, and avoid public skepticism.

“People are also going to have to do their part, they are going to have to accept this vaccine,” Gov. Cuomo said. “You can’t get to 75% if 50% say they won’t take it. I would never ask anyone in the state to take a vaccine that I was unwilling to take myself. I’m not asking you to send your child to school if I wouldn’t send my child to school.”

The governor displayed the packaging of Pfizer’s vaccine:

“People should start focusing on the vaccine because it’s real, and it’s here, and New York wants to do it just as quickly as we can,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The vaccine process is a complicated process and distribution is going to take a lot of work and a lot of effort.”

The governor said he was proud that Pfizer is a New York-based company, and added that the vials are made from another New York company, Corning Inc.

“This is the weapon that is going to win the war, and this is the light at the end of the tunnel,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It’s not tomorrow, it’s not a short tunnel, but we know the way through this. We just have to get there, and we have to get there with as little loss of life as possible.”

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