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Latest coronavirus updates in New York: Monday, January 4, 2021

Virus Outbreak New York
Posted at 5:18 AM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-04 21:16:20-05

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.

3:45 p.m.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a phone briefing to announce the first confirmed case of the U.K. COVID-19 strain:

First case of UK strain:

  • Lab confirmed the state's first case of the U.K. strain of COVID-19 in Saratoga County, New York
  • Patient is a man in his 60s, symptomatic but improving
  • Did not recently travel, so experts suggest that it was community spread
  • Affiliated with a jewelry store in Saratoga
  • 3 other COVID-19 cases in the jewelry store, but unsure if it is U.K. variant or not

New variant and vaccine:

  • No experts have not found the variant more severe or more deadly, nor has it been found to be vaccine resistant
  • It is believed to be more transmittable
  • Belief is that the variant is more widespread than people know
  • State can test for new strain more quickly than CDC, Cuomo says
  • Has not been found downstate yet

11:30 a.m.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a briefing with the latest on COVID-19 in New York. Watch here or in video below.

Daily Indicators:

  • Statewide positivity overall: 8.34%
    • Without micro-clusters: 7.78%
    • In micro-clusters alone: 9.85%
  • Total tests reported Sunday: 134,360
  • Statewide COVID-19 deaths Sunday: 170
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 8,251 (+288)
    • Discharges: 537
    • Admits: 925
    • ICU: 1,357 (+13)
    • Intubations: 843 (+28)

New York Christmas and New Year's season spike:

  • Since Thanksgiving (11/26 - 1/2)
    • Net Daily Growth in total COVID hospitalizations: 135
    • Daily COVID admissions (7-day average): 699
  • Over past week (12/27 - 1/2)
    • Net Daily Growth in total COVID hospitalizations: 144
    • Daily COVID admissions (7-day average): 899

Statewide hospital capacity:

  • NY has implemented "Surge & Flex" focus on hospital capacity and load balancing, and it is working, Cuomo says
  • Every hospital CEO certifies daily how many staffed beds available under the plan
  • All regions are now more than 30% (see map below)

New York schools update:

  • In counties with positivity rate over 9%, schools may remain open if testing shows that that school's positivity rate is below community average
    • Cuomo said it's up to local school districts to make the final decision

Vaccine delivery and distribution:

  • Cuomo says about 300,000 doses have been administered in NY so far
  • Nursing homes
    • NY participated in program federally run, but now will be expedited by the state
    • 611 enrolled facilities
      • 288 completed first does for residents (47%)
      • With state facilitation, 234 additional first doses for residents happening this week (bringing total to 85%)
      • We will expedite remaining 15% nursing home residents over next two weeks
      • Simultaneously vaccinating nursing home staff
  • Hospitals
    • 194 total in state
      • 24 public hospitals (most of which are in NYC)
        • "We need local officials to manage those public hospitals...take personal responsibility for their hospitals," Cuomo says.
      • 170 private hospitals
    • Hospitals statewide have used about 46% of total allocation
    • Graphic below: 10 best-performing and 10 worst-performing hospitals for vaccine distribution
    • DOH issued letter Sunday to vaccine providers: Use it or lose it
      • Any provider who does not use vaccine by end of this week could be fined up to $100,000
      • Going forward, facilities must use all vaccine within 7 days of receipt
      • Provider can be disqualified from future distribution
  • Special Effort:
    • State establishing drive-thrus for public distribution
    • State will use public facilities for distribution
    • State recruiting additional retired personnel, nurses, doctors, pharmacists to help give vaccinations
    • Focusing on poorer communities
    • State to use partners to reach community through "pop-up" vaccine sites at public housing, churches, community centers

More New Yorkers now eligible to get vaccine

  • 2.1 million New Yorkers eligible to be vaccinated in Phase 1, the governor says
  • Group 1a expanding today (Monday)
    • Any health-care worker who comes in contact with the public
    • Individuals administering vaccines, including local health department staff
    • Ambulatory centers staff
    • Home-care and hospice workers
    • Other congregate setting staff and residents
  • If any entity falsifies who or what they are, or if any entity does not follow guidelines on who is eligible for vaccine:
    • Executive Order: Provider loses license
    • Gov. Cuomo will propose a law with criminal penalties

10 a.m.
Mayor de Blasio shared an NYC COVID-19 update. Watch in video below.

Vaccine distribution

  • Beginning Jan 4. New groups eligible
    • Testing site workers, contact tracers, outpatient and ambulatory care providers, dentists, physical therapists, workers at specialized clinics, NYPD medical staff
  • Beginning Jan. 11: Home care workers, hospice workers, more nursing home staff.
  • Increasing vaccine capacity
    • Two new vaccine pop-up clinics
    • Five new H+H vaccination sites
    • Three new vaccine hubs this weekend
    • Currently 125 vaccination sites
    • 160 sites this weekend
    • Goal: 250 sites by end of month.
  • What we need to do:
    • Must: Vaccinate people 75 and older
    • Feds: pick up the pace
    • Hospitals: Vaccinations seven days a week and on holidays
    • Questions: NYC.Gov/COVIDVaccine

Special election

  • March 23, 2021
  • For Bronx Districts 11 and 15

Daily indicators

  • COVID Hospitalizations: 234 (62 % positivity rate)
  • Hospitalization rate per 100,000, 7-day average (NYS): 4.07
  • New reported COVID-19 cases on 7-day average (including probable cases): 3,976
  • 7-day rolling average: 9%

Q&A

  • Vaccine rollout is slow — what does the state need to do?
    • Mayor: We’ve got category 1A, but we need to get into 1B right away (essential workers)
    • The more places we can go, the more options.
    • I want to go with this 24/7.
  • Why is it not already 24/7? Why is rollout so slow?
    • Our health care professionals are dealing with a vaccine we haven’t dealt with. Refrigerations are already a concern. Making sure the first few weeks were careful, smart and effective.
    • Getting it right the first few weeks was the trendsetting. Now it’s time to “sprint.” From this week on, I expect numbers to increase.
    • By the end of the month, I expect us to get to more than 400,000 vaccines a week.
  • Do you have the supply for a million vaccines? Is a 24 hour site on the table?
    • I want to see 24-hour sites and I want to see vaccinations seven days a week.
  • Economic recovery plan for NYC. Do you need to roll out some plans for New Yorkers?
    • Nothing will help our recovery more than an extraordinary vaccine plan.
  • Why are vaccines not being distributed yet in pharmacies that are more easily accessible to people?
    • That is part of the plan. Over time, we hope to get to pharmacies.
    • Dr. Dave Chokshi: “We expect pharmacies to be a pillar of our vaccination efforts.”
    • We want the pace of vaccination to accelerate rapidly.
    • Ramping up access points: using pharmacies will hopefully be utilized in the next 2-3 weeks.
    • Independent pharmacies will also be utilized, especially in areas hardest hit.
  • Many schools are reopening after MLK day to allow time to quarantine, etc. Why not have public schools wait for another few weeks?
    • Our kids need to be in school and need the in-person benefits. Positivity rate is 0.69% and it is safe.
  • How much resistance are you getting to the vaccine?
    • There is resistance, people were weary, but more people will be ready to get vaccine in coming weeks.
  • Public officials and vaccines.
    • Mayor: I think public officials should wait until it’s our turn to receive the vaccine. There are people who deserve it more than me.
    • When my time comes, then I’ll certainly receive it.
  • By the end of January, you want 1 million vaccinations. That means half a million NYers by the end of the month (two doses) Will you include those numbers in your daily indicators?
    • You’re going to see about 160 sites this week, going up to 250 sites.
    • About 100,000 doses given by the end of the week.
    • Concern now: I want to tell people what we’ll be talking about in the next few weeks is where our supply is. That’s the concern later in January: Will they be able to meet our demand?
    • Second doses to those in the first category as we can do that. We’re going to be moving both those efforts simultaneously.
  • Staffing for vaccine hubs
    • Dr. Chokshi: It’s all hands on deck. We’re reaching out to many city health workers to assist. THat’s just the start.
    • If we need more manpower, we’ll seek whatever additional assistance to get it done.
    • Several hospitals visited are doing late night and early morning vaccination.
    • Dr. Chokshi encourages other hospitals to ramp up vaccination
  • Hubs: Three high schools being used. What can you use for safety of educators/students when being used simultaneously for vaccines.
    • We’re going to be mindful and careful to keep schools safe. Opening schools is very important
  • 1 million inoculations by the end of the month. Will it be half a million with two doses? Or 1 million people?
    • 1 Million doses, but there’s also a waiting period between doses. That’s the plan. — we need help from the federal government.
    • 250 sites = About 4,000 vaccinations per site. That can be done very quickly. We need the rules to be flexible and the supply to be guaranteed.
  • Pier 76 tow garage: What is the status regarding towing of vehicles in Manhattan moving forward?
    • There will be towing, but not in that location. We will be out of that tow pound for the month of January. Going to an alternative site. New site will be set up.
  • Umbrella Hotel in Queens has been location of several shootings — any actions?
    • Mayor: I want that hotel closed. We’re going to use all the power of the city gov’t to close it and stop having the community suffer
  • Homeless shelter vaccine rollout
    • This is why we were vaccine rollout expedited.
    • Dr. Chokshi: This is a concern. We want to make sure they’re part of the vaccination plan. Staff is currently in Phase 1B.

The latest official numbers:
As of Monday, there were 1,028,362 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March and 30,648 confirmed fatalities, according to the state 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