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Here's the latest:
The state positivity rate for COVID-19 is edging towards 3% across New York State, with 34 people having lost their lives to the virus on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday.
The grim news comes as Cuomo battles the onset of a second wave across the state, with several hotspots -- including New York City, Westchester, Monroe, and Erie counties -- all contributing to a major spike in cases. Overall, New York's rolling seven-day positivity average is at 2.91%, with yesterday's daily rate at 2.87% when factoring in the COVID-19 hotspots across the state, including parts of Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens.
But Cuomo has been drawing comparisons to other parts of the U.S. and the world, given the exceedingly high COVID-19 rates there, suggesting the Empire State is faring better than most. He credited the state's micro-cluster strategy, where rapid testing and tighter restrictions are instituted should rates continually increase.
"We are in no way immune to the problems we are seeing elsewhere and we are entering a very dangerous period with the cold weather and holidays approaching," Cuomo said.
More and more New Yorkers are now stopping by clinics and hospitals to get tested, with 207,907 test results reported to the state on Friday, a new record, Cuomo noted. Of those test results, 5,972 -- 1,839 in the hotspots and another 4,133 in areas outside hotspots -- came back positive.
Of those 34 deaths, five were in Brooklyn and two were in Queens.
The surge in deaths comes as COVID-19 cases across the U.S. are approaching 12 million, with nearly 1 million new cases reported in the last week as Americans head into the holiday travel season.
Data from the COVID Tracking Project shows there were 11,748,947 confirmed cases, up 10,595,771, a 10% increase from just last week, according to tallies from the COVID Tracking Project. Data also shows 245,537 have now died from the virus, where rates have gone up to virtually every state across the country.
The updated figures come as state governments warn Americans to rethink their holiday plans, particularly the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday where millions of people will be traveling across the country.
"I understand the desire to come together with those you love and celebrate the holidays, but truly loving someone in 2020 unfortunately means you might not get to be together physically," Cuomo said. "Time and again, New Yorkers have put their toughness on display in order to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe - and we must continue doing that, as difficult as it may be. By making these tough decisions and practicing the safe behaviors we know help stop the spread, we will get through this as one unified, loving state."
Toronto Will Go Into 28-Day Lockdown Beginning Monday
12:45 p.m.: Toronto will enter a 28-day lockdown on Monday in order to "slow the spread of COVID-19," city officials announced on Friday. It's the second such lockdown for the country's largest city.
The city of nearly 3 million people has a positivity rate of about 6.2%, and classified itself as being in the "red" status level, the second worst status for a region to be in Toronto.
As part of its lockdown, Toronto is closing all outdoor dining (take-out and delivery are still available and "strongly encouraged"), malls, non-essential retail, indoor gyms, hair salons, barbershops nail salons, and tattoo parlors. Essential businesses are open, as are retailers with grocery sections at 50% capacity.
Notably, schools and after-school programs will remain open.
According to the NY Times, cases in Canada have increased by 20% over the past two weeks and deaths have increased by 34% in the same period. In Toronto, over 1,400 cases were reported on Friday; their number of cases for recent months also exceedec the number of cases in April and May.
The province of Ottawa uses a "confusing" color-coded system apply rules to regions similar to micro-cluster colors, and Toronto will be moving into the "grey - lockdown" phase.
According to a press release by Toronto officials, residents are also "strongly encouraged to stay home, except for essential travel, such as groceries and other necessities, like medicine; healthcare appointments; exercise; school; child care; and going to work. By reducing the number of people who are out in the community, we reduce the number of potential contacts and exposures to COVID-19, which will drive down case counts."
“The situation is extremely serious and further action is required to avoid the worst-case scenario,” Ottawa premier Doug Ford said. “We cannot put in-class learning at risk, we can’t risk widespread outbreaks in our long-term care homes, we cannot risk overwhelming our hospitals. To protect our most vulnerable and protect what matters most we have to get the community spread under control.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said there wasn't necessity for a country-wide lockdown, yet, but he has been warning Canadians from spending cold winter months in the southern United States and Mexico. "People are safest when they stay home in Canada," he said.
Canada's travel restrictions are even preventing its NBA team, the Toronto Raptors, from playing in Toronto at the start of the season. The Raptors will begin, instead, in Tampa, Florida.