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Latest coronavirus updates in New York: Monday, December 7, 2020

Virus Outbreak in New York
Posted at 4:05 AM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 12:25:01-05

NEW YORK — Below you will find the most up-to-date information on coronavirus news impacting New York. You can find additional resources and coverage on our coronavirus page.

11 a.m.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a coronavirus briefing. Watch the news conference below or click here.
NYS model to combat COVID-19

  • The state sets all close-down policies, not counties or cities.
  • This avoids a "hodgepodge" effect as well as reduces "forum shopping" and confusion.
  • The state is coordinating with surrounding states to ensure as much continuity in response plans as possible.

Surge and flex response plan

  • What it means is surging and flexing the hospital systems in the state.
  • Surge: New York has 54,000 hospital beds statewide. The Health Department can direct hospitals to increase their bed capacity by 50%, which was done in the spring. The Health Department can also cancel elective surgery, which frees up more beds, and create field hospitals to add another 5,000 beds.
  • All of those changes would create a total capacity of 75,000 beds.
  • The state is calling for hospitals to increase bed capacity by 25%, leaving another 25% on reserve.
  • The state is also asking retired doctors and nurses to sign up with the state and they will automatically be approved for work.
  • Cuomo said he believes they can get another 20,000 nurses and doctors from this mechanism.
  • Flex: Ensure that public and private hospital systems are working together.
  • The state has started the flex management system to find out daily how many hospitalizations, ICU patients and intubations are in each hospital.
  • "You cannot overwhelm the hospitals," Cuomo said.
  • If hospital capacity in a region becomes critical, that region will shut down in an effort to not overwhelm the hospitals.
  • "If you're going to overwhelm the hospital system, then we have no choice but to close down," Cuomo said.
  • If after five days, a region's hospital rate has not stabilized, indoor dining will close or be reduced. In NYC, indoor dining would close entirely. In rest of the state, indoor dining would be reduced from 50% to 25% capacity.
  • However, microcluster rules also remain in effect. So if an area is in an orange or red microcluster zone, businesses have to follow those rules regardless.
  • The downstate region could see changes to indoor dining by as early as next Monday, the governor said.
  • In order to undo the indoor dining restrictions or a full shutdown in a region, the state would need to see a stabilization or reduction in hospital capacity, Cuomo said. However, the governor added that he does not see that happening since health experts predict the infection rate will continue to rise through the middle of January.
  • "Hopefully you stabilize by mid-January and then the vaccine kicks in," Cuomo said.
  • The CDC has recommended more restrictions on indoor dining, Cuomo said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci

  • Fauci commended Cuomo’s surge and flex response plan as “very interesting,” adding that it seems really sound with a lot of backup contingencies.
  • The state and nation are poised to feel the “full blunt” effect of Thanksgiving travel and family gatherings.
  • Fauci said the COVID-19 surge from Thanksgiving is probably another week to a week-and-a-half from now.
  • The problem is, Fauci said, that surge is going to come up against the same time when people are traveling for and celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah.
  • “So you have a surge upon a surge,” Fauci said.
  • “We could start to see things get really bad in the middle of January,” Fauci said.
  • “The middle of January could be a really dark time for us,” Fauci said.
  • When asked about states that have instituted a 10-person gathering limit, Fauci said it probably could be lowered even further.
  • Fauci also proposed keeping schools open and shutting down bars and restaurants. However, he also supports financially subsidizing those business owners so they don't fail and are not tempted to illegally reopen.
  • What food do you miss the most from New York? Fauci said whenever he needs New York comfort food, the things that come to mind are a nice Nathan's hot dog and a steaming pastrami sandwich.

Fauci on COVID-19 vaccine

  • The vaccine coverage goal is 75% to 80%, Fauci said.
  • The timing of easing the pandemic's impacts is entirely dependent on "how well we do" with vaccine distribution, Fauci said.
  • Fauci said he hopes most health care workers will be vaccinated by the end of December and people without an "essential worker" designation would follow in April, May, June, putting the country in "good shape" by the "end of summer."

QnA

  • Cuomo said he will publicly take the vaccine.
  • On Staten Island, Cuomo said the borough has gone from the lowest death rate in the city to the highest.
  • When asked about Mac's Public House melee over the weekend, Cuomo blasted the co-owners and officials who are voicing support for them. "You don't assault a police officer," Cuomo said. "It's repugnant to the values of any New Yorker ... it's disgusting and he's a coward."

10 a.m.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio was joined by Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza to share the latest on COVID-19 in the city. Watch in video below.

School in NYC

  • Up to 190,000 students return this week.
  • 850 schools reopening
  • Sign consent forms from NYC School Account https://mystudent.nyc/
  • Staten Island schools in the orange zone 3-K, Pre-K, K-5 will reopen Wednesday

Daily indicators

  • COVID Hospitalizations: 144 (53% positivity rate)
  • Hospitalization rate per 100,000, 7-day average (NYS): 2.28
  • New reported COVID-19 cases on 7-day average: (including probable cases): 2,180 (616 additional)
  • Percentage tested positive: (eliminated)
  • 7-day rolling average: 4.98%
  • Dr. Dave Chokshi: Data is the lifeblood of our COVID response, but data is also at the center of New Yorkers' response. In order to act on that data, people must know the data.

Updated CDC guidance

  • Universal use of face masks
  • Physical distance and limit contacts
  • Avoid non-essential indoor spaces/outdoor settings when crowded
  • Increased testing, diagnosis, isolation
  • Contact tracing
  • Safeguarding vulnerable population
  • Protect essential workers
  • Postpone travel
  • Increase room air ventilation, hand hygiene, disinfection
  • Widespread availability and use of effective vaccine

Q&A

  • School reopening: Of 850 schools reopening, how many will have offer classes five days a week.
    • Carranza: At least 150 schools, much clearer numbers by Tuesday morning.
  • City has surpassed 3% threshold. When should city start closing non-essential businesses.
    • Indicators are troubling and situation is getting more troubling.
    • All options on the table — the decision is made by the city.
  • Videos of people gathering for Rockefeller Christmas tree, police having hard time getting people to wear masks
    • Putting on a mask is basic to keeping people healthy. We’re not going to allow crowds to gather.
  • Testing locations: Closest testing site to Rockaway/Breezy Point area is four zip codes away. Will you add more mobile testing sites?
    • That’s a place that needs more testing — we’ll move mobile bands or pop ups into place.
  • Concern over change of indicators — make sure these figures will be accurate and not move the thresholds etc.
    • We’re portraying more information as we have more confidence in it.
    • Seven-day indicators are giving more accurate info.
    • This gives a more comprehensive picture and discern the trends over time.
  • Staten Island bar owner: Would he be treated the same if he weren’t white?
    • When you break the law, you’ll face consequences. We’re talking with prosecutors/authorities.
  • In-person and remote learning/blended learning — students are seeing struggles in classes
    • Overall, we’re seeing not all children are doing well, given the new learning environment.
  • Has the DOE developed ways to develop and further better the learning environment?
    • Rather than having three elements of our schooling system, we’ll have two once more students return to school.
    • Carranza: We’re looking and developing more digital curriculum and looking into teachers who are thriving and look into their teaching process.
  • Remote learning: Why hasn’t the DOE reached out to all the talent in the city that produces programming for children etc — where they’re getting entertaining info and teaching them lessons.
    • There is a lot of creative talent that can contribute. This is an area where we could do more. We’re constantly trying to keep on improving.
    • We have been partnering with different organizations.

8:15 a.m.
UFT Pres. Michael Mulgrew held a presser as students return to school. Watch in video below.

7:50 a.m.
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza discussed the reopening of NYC schools. Watch interview.

7:15 a.m.
President of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators Mark Cannizzaro spoke to PIX11 about the return to in-person learning.

CSA president talks return to classrooms

Happening today:
Some NYC elementary, 3-K and Pre-K students return to the classroom for in-person learning. Read more.

The latest official numbers:
As of Monday, there were 713,129 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 27,232 confirmed fatalities in New York, according to the Department of Health.

COVID-19 timeline: How novel coronavirus spread

Tips to protect yourself and others amid coronavirus outbreaks

The New York state coronavirus hotline is 1-888-364-3065; information is also being posted here