SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul hosted a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday morning from the CNY Biotech Accelerator at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse.

The governor provided an update on the state’s indoor mask mandate for public transportation, which remains in effect while the federal government will no longer enforce it, pending a potential appeal of a recent federal judge’s ruling in Florida.

According to the governor, masks are still required in New York when in certain settings, including:

  • State-regulated health care settings
  • State-regulated adult care facilities and nursing homes
  • Correctional facilities
  • Homeless shelters
  • Domestic violence shelters
  • Buses and bus stations, trains and train stations, subways and subway stations, and airports

“We’re going to continue [the mask mandate] in the short term, for public transportation,” Gov. Hochul said. “Let’s just be smart about it. This is very much for the short term.”

The Justice Department said Tuesday it will not appeal the federal district judge’s ruling that ended the nation’s federal mask mandate on public transit unless the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes the requirement is still necessary.

In a statement released a day after a Florida judge ended the sweeping mandate, which required face coverings on planes and trains and in transit hubs, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said officials believe that the federal mask order was “a valid exercise of the authority Congress has given CDC to protect the public health.” He said it was “an important authority the Department will continue to work to preserve.”

Coley said the CDC had said it would continue to assess public health conditions, and if the agency determined a mandate was necessary for public health, the Justice Department would file an appeal.

As of Tuesday, the agency hadn’t made a determination, officials said.

The federal judge’s ruling did away with the last major vestige of federal pandemic rules and led to a mishmash of new locally created rules that reflected the nation’s ongoing divisions over how to battle the virus.

Full press conference

Major airlines and airports in places like Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City quickly switched to a mask-optional policy. 

The ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber announced on their websites Tuesday that masks will now be optional while riding or driving.

Even Walt Disney World in Florida on Tuesday announced it was lifting its mask requirement for its monorail, buses and sky gondola.

President Joe Biden went all-in on flexibility Tuesday when asked if Americans should mask up on planes.

“That’s up to them,” Biden declared during a visit to Portsmouth, New Hampshire. But the White House continues to require face coverings for those traveling with him on Air Force One, citing CDC guidance.

Governor’s COVID briefing slides (4/20/22)

Tuesday’s statewide coronavirus data, according to the governor’s office, was as follows:

  • Cases Per 100k – 23.77
  • 7-Day Average Cases Per 100k – 30.71
  • Test Results Reported – 70,118
  • Total Positive – 4,646
  • Percent Positive – 6.18%**
  • 7-Day Average Percent Positive – 5.33%
  • Patient Hospitalization – 1,357
  • Patients Newly Admitted – 790*
  • Patients in ICU – 170
  • Patients in ICU with Intubation – 64
  • Total Discharges – 293,712 (+583)
  • New deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS – 48
  • Total deaths reported by healthcare facilities through HERDS – 55,315
  • Total deaths reported to and compiled by the CDC – 70,573
  • Total vaccine doses administered – 38,028,092
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 24 hours – 21,761
  • Total vaccine doses administered over past 7 days – 205,061
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose – 92.2%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series – 83.6%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) – 95.0%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with completed vaccine series (CDC) – 86.6%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 12-17 with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) – 82.8%
  • Percent of New Yorkers ages 12-17 with completed vaccine series (CDC) – 72.9%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose – 81.8%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series – 73.9%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) – 89.9%
  • Percent of all New Yorkers with completed vaccine series (CDC) – 76.6%

Each region’s 7-day average of cases per 100K population is as follows **:

REGIONSaturday, April 16, 2022Sunday, April 17, 2022Monday, April 18, 2022
Capital Region29.1129.4930.13
Central New York54.0753.5052.91
Finger Lakes34.1235.1235.95
Long Island29.6629.6030.93
Mid-Hudson25.5625.9826.48
Mohawk Valley44.3345.3045.63
New York City26.7126.5427.32
North Country26.9027.6928.20
Southern Tier40.2640.2640.15
Western New York30.3831.8532.62
Statewide29.8229.9930.71

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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