New York City is in Phase 4 of reopening now, which includes zoos, botanical gardens, museums, and gyms. Citing rising hospitalization rates, Governor Andrew Cuomo suspended indoor dining in NYC starting December 14th. After being shut down for several weeks, NYC public schools partially reopened on December 7th for 3K-5th grade students, with students with special needs returning on December 10th. Certain parts of Staten Island remain under a zoned shutdown.
Get answers to questions you may have with our "Ask An Epidemiologist" series, or learn more about NYC COVID-19 testing options with our explainer. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.
Here's the latest:
New York City’s rate of positive COVID-19 tests has decreased gradually in the past three days and has fallen below the state average, according to data released by Governor Andrew Cuomo Saturday.
The city’s seven-day average was 5.66% Friday, 5.70% Thursday and 5.83% Wednesday. Statewide, the positivity rate was 5.77% Friday.
Cuomo also announced that an additional case of the more contagious variant of COVID-19 has been reported in Tompkins County, for a total of 17 cases statewide.
The state reported 157 people died Friday, including 8 in the Bronx, 16 in Brooklyn, 2 in Manhattan, 17 in Queens and 3 in Staten Island.
There were 80 people admitted to hospitals Friday for a total of 8,888 patients hospitalized in the state, with 1,580 people in intensive care units, an increase of ten patients from Thursday. Of those ICU patients, 21 additional people were intubated for a total of 983 intubated patients.
New York City’s hospitals have 24% of their ICU beds available, based on a seven-day average.
“New York is fighting to beat back COVID as we distribute the limited vaccine available as quickly as possible,” Cuomo said Saturday in a release. “We’re deploying all the tools in our toolbox -- making sure hospitals have enough capacity and conducting ever-higher numbers of tests -- to keep New Yorkers as safe as possible. But our actions as individuals and as communities to stay socially distanced, wear masks and wash our hands are of vital importance, as is the willingness of local governments to enforce the rules. When communities decide to slow the spread, it will slow down. It’s purely a function of our actions.”
Only 10% Of NY’s Eligible COVID-19 Vaccine Recipients Have Received Doses
As the vaccine rollout proceeds at a jerky pace, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 699,063 people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in New York on Thursday — just 10% of the total number of those currently eligible to receive the shot in New York.
And health figures show 75,891 people have received the second shot, translating to just 1% of the current vaccine eligibility pool of 7 million.
The governor released the figures on Friday, updating New Yorkers on the state's vaccine distribution plan, which began last month through a phased system. Currently, New York is in Phase 1a and 1b, where priority goes to those more vulnerable to contracting the virus, be it essential workers or those 65 and older. Cuomo emphasized that the state is working in getting "needles in arms quickly and efficiently," but blames the federal government for increasing eligibility but not supply.
"What they did was like opening the floodgates of eligibility," Cuomo said in a statement. "Now, 7 million New Yorkers are eligible, but we are still only receiving about 300,000 doses a week. Even worse, we actually got less doses this week at about 250,000."
Cuomo opened several vaccination sites across the state last Monday, including one at Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. The state Health Department is also working with thousands of pharmacies across the state to help administer the vaccine. Cuomo has calculated that at the rate the state is going—driven largely by the number of vaccines it has in possession—it will take months to inoculate millions of people in the Phase 1a and 1b categories and delaying the goal of rapidly reaching herd immunity.
"New York has done its part and now has one of the most expansive distribution networks to actually conduct the vaccinations and it's time for the federal government to do theirs and actually increase the supply," Cuomo said. "If they don't, it will only lengthen the amount of time it will take to reach the light at the end of the tunnel."
The slow rollout comes as New York City is grappling with the possibility of running out of vaccines by the end of next week.
It also comes as COVID-19's resurgence has battered parts of the state, including New York City, where 55 people died on Thursday, according to health figures. They include 3 in the Bronx, 23 in Brooklyn, 6 in Manhattan, 18 in Queens, and 5 in Staten Island.
Cuomo also revealed that Nassau County saw another case of the new, more contagious COVID-19 variant, putting the total number of cases for the more potent strain at 16.
Of the record 324,671 test results returned to the state on Thursday, 19,942 people were found to be positive, putting the positivity rate at 6.14%.
"After New Year's Day, it started to flatten because the increase in social activity started to flatten," Cuomo said in a statement. "And now, we're starting to see a drop post-New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. And that is good news. We'd rather not have seen the increase, but I believe the increase would have been worse if we weren't smart and disciplined during the holidays."