ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — During a press call on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo updated New Yorkers on the response to COVID-19.
Wednesday marked the 40th straight day of decline for the seven-day average positivity rate statewide, and the lowest since November 28. It is day 354 of the pandemic in New York, and the governor provided the following data:
- 169,963 COVID-19 tests reported Tuesday
- 3.58% seven-day average positivity rate (6,092 new cases)
- 109 new COVID-19 deaths statewide
- 6,574 hospitalized
The governor said there are now 82 confirmed cases of the U.K. variant strain in New York, up 12 from Saturday. He said of those 12 new cases, 11 are from New York City, and another was from Broome County in the Southern Tier.
The governor said that, as of Wednesday’s conference call, 3.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in New York, including approximately 1 million second doses. The governor said 94% of the allocation sent to the state in weeks 1 to 9 of the vaccine process has been administered. He said President Joe Biden was again increasing the state’s allocation of doses for week 11. Cuomo also said that doses increased over 55% since the start of the Biden administration.
As supply increases, the governor said coordination and fairness are priorities. “You have a multiplicity of distribution outlets run by federal, state, and local governments,” Cuomo said. “That is now creating confusion. This was a system set up originally by the Trump administration and it does create confusion. At one point the situation will reverse, I believe, because at one point we’ll have a significant amount of doses, and then you don’t have an availability problem, you don’t have a supply problem. Then the multiplicity of distribution points will actually be a positive, but that’s when you have enough supply. Which experts say could be about the end of June now.”
On vaccinating nursing home staff and residents, the governor said the only remaining people who haven’t been vaccinated are those who refuse to take it.
Amusement parks and summer camps
The governor announced target dates for indoor and outdoor amusement parks to be able to reopen. “Beginning March 26, indoor family entertainment centers can reopen,” he said. “Department of Health will list the guidelines, but 25% capacity, face covering, social distance, temperature checks, frequent cleaning, and disinfection. Outdoor amusement parks can reopen starting April 9 with 33% capacity, face covering, social distancing, temperature checks, cleaning, disinfection, tickets sold in advance, etc.”
In addition to face coverings, social distancing and mandatory health screenings, all indoor family and entertainment centers and places of amusement, and outdoor amusement parks, must follow the below guidelines:
- Contact information must be collected from each party to inform contact tracing, if needed
- High-touch areas, attractions, and rides must be cleaned and disinfected frequently throughout the day
- Attractions must close if they cannot ensure distancing and be frequently cleaned/disinfected
- Sufficient staff must be deployed to enforce compliance with rules, including capacity, distancing and face coverings
- Tickets should be sold in advance, and entry/exit and waiting times should be staggered to avoid congestion
- Indoor areas must meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards
- Retail, food services and recreational activities must abide by all State-issued guidance
All facilities must submit reopening plans with health protocols to the local health department. The governor said the New York State Department of Health would soon have more detailed guidance in regards to reopening amusement parks.
The governor also said he’s still evaluating summer camps. “As of now, overnight summer camps can plan on reopening,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That doesn’t happen until June and we hope the current trajectory stay until June 1. We’re keeping an eye on these variants of interest, but they can plan on reopening.”
The governor said some vaccine shipments may be delayed due to extreme weather throughout much of the country.
“Some of the delivery of allocation by the federal government may be delayed this way because of storms across the country,” Cuomo said. “We’ll also have potential of storms in New York starting tomorrow lasting into Friday. This is the set of storms moving across the country and the state is acting appropriately.”