LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a briefing from Long Island Monday to give an update on New York state’s coronavirus response efforts.
It’s been 177 days since the first confirmed case of coronavirus and the governor announced the infection rate was down to 0.66%, the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic in New York.
“Today is a great day,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The infection rate today is .66%, that is the lowest infection rate that we have had since we started this.”
Monday also marked the 17th straight day of an infection rate less than 1% statewide.
The governor announced seven new virus deaths statewide, 482 hospitalizations, 120 ICU patients, and 54 New Yorkers intubated with COVID-19 — all steady numbers compared to recent data.
“We have done a number of initiatives to protect our progress,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Our infection rate is low, the question is how do you keep it low?”
The governor also announced a policy for youth sports as schools close in on a reopening date.
“In all regions of the state, low-risk sports can practice and play starting September 21,” Gov. Cuomo said. “So schools will be coming back and September 21 so they can start to practice and play all across the state.”
The governor added that teams would not be able to travel and compete in areas outside their respective regions.
The governor said higher-risk sports can begin practicing, but no games could be played.
The governor applauded the efforts taken at a drive-in concert in Westhampton on Long Island, that he says went on safely.
“You can do these types of events, but people have to comply,” Gov. Cuomo said. “The event is safe and prudent if people comply. The problem comes when you stage the event and people don’t comply and the local authorities aren’t prepared to deal with it.”
The governor said he wanted to change the law that limited the penalty on utility companies after outages, or failure to properly prepare for storms.
“The laws in New York State, I believe, are too protective of the utility companies and that has to change,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Right now there is a legal limit for what you can penalize the utility companies afterward.”
“We have to change the law, change the amount of the penalty,” Gov. Cuomo said. “So the penalty is actually a penalty, it has to be a penalty, that will change your behavior because it is significant.”
The governor said he would sign executive orders to make more absentee ballots available, and increase resources for respective Boards of Elections.
“This election is going to be, I think, one of the most critical in modern history,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It will be controversial, you already hear the statements questioning the vote and the accuracy of the vote and mail-in ballots. We want to make sure every vote is counted, every voice is heard, and that it’s fair and accurate.”
Gyms and fitness centers across New York state can reopen as soon as Monday, following local inspection and new safety guidelines.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.