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Latest coronavirus updates in New York: Thursday, September 17, 2020

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Posted at 5:39 AM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 11:58:01-04

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.

11:45 a.m.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo released the state's latest COVID numbers:

  • Of the 91,504 coronavirus tests reported Wednesday, 896 were positive - 0.98% infection rate.
  • NY reported 3 COVID fatalities Wednesday
  • 486 COVID hospitalizations Wednesday
  • 135 COVID patients in the ICU
  • 68 patients intubated
  • Total COVID cases in NY: 447,262
  • Total COVID deaths in NY: 25,413

10:15 a.m.
Mayor Bill de Blasio gave an update on NYC reopening. Watch in video below.

Schools in NYC

  • We must have every tool needed to provide a child with proper education
  • Public schools and in-person learning: Concerns have been raised
  • Educators had real concerns about things that had to be done to make sure schools can start effectively.
  • Though there’s progress, not enough has been made.

Getting things right for in-person and remote learning

  • We talked about different types of school and their levels of readiness
  • Updated approach — several phases for reopening in-person learning. READ MORE.
    • Beginning Monday: 3-K, Pre-K and District 75 schools will reopen
    • Sept. 29: K-5 and K-8 schools reopen
    • Oct. 1: Middle and high schools, secondary schools, Transfer/Adult education reopen

Staffing update

  • Additional 2,500 educators to be hired (4,500 total)
  • They come from DOE substitute teacher pool, current DOE staff, CUNY system

Daily indicators

  • COVID Hospitalizations: 85 (9.52% positivity rate)
  • New reported COVID-19 cases on 7-day average: 285
  • Percentage tested positive: 0.63%

Q&A

  • Phasing reopenings: What is the most pressing safety concern that is causing the pause on reopening?
    • Mayor: Feel good about a vast majority of schools with PPE and Cleaning, but staffing levels had to be agreed on together and we had to take a bigger step.
    • UFT Pres. Michael Mulgrew: Ventilation issues are being worked out. COVID situation rooms has been set up. COVID testing still needs to be worked on, but progressing. Getting right PPE in right school setting will be worked out.
    • It’s been constant monitoring and listening to make sure everything is right and every building has what it needs.
  • Staffing: remote learning will continue. Do you have enough staff to conduct remote learning?
    • Mayor: Remote learning has to be as good as it can be. You have to get started to figure out how to make improvements.
    • Chancellor: Remote learning will always be part of the equation because of the COVID-19 circumstances. We also have plans and conversations with teachers on what tools are needed to assist in remote learning. “We’re all trying on a new pair of shoes here.”
  • What was the straw that broke the camel’s back?
    • Mayor: The information flow about what was needed had to be addressed (School staffing needs that haven’t been resolved enough) “It just was clear to me that we did not have a clear enough number.” "It just became clear we had to make adjustments."
  • Will this prompt you to push reopening of indoor dining?
    • Indoor dining is a state decision, but we are constantly monitoring the percent positivity.
  • Staffing issues have been mentioned for weeks. Why just now?
    • Mulgrew: We’ve been addressing the concerns and monitoring, but as teachers returned to schools, that was when we noticed the huge need for more educators
  • With all staffing issues, does this foreshadow us eventually turning to all remote?
    • Nothing beats in-person learning. Always look at what is working. We’re moving forward Monday.
    • Mark Cannizzaro: “There have been so many moving parts.” The big red flag was the fact there were a lack of teachers.
  • What do you have to have to tell parents who now have to change their plans around?
    • “Parents would want us to get it right,” Mayor de Blasio said.
    • People will do what they have to do and we’ll be able to provide that support.
    • If we keep fighting back the disease, we will keep reopening.
  • Biggest issue was lack of staffing: We’re now at 4,500, which is still half of what the principals union asked for. Is it enough?
    • Mayor: We’re all leaders and managers. We’re used to pushing to negotiate and compromise. We agree certain things have to happen. We have had changes in the number of students and adjustments have been made.
    • Cannizzaro: The 4,500 is the number to get us through the K-8 classes. Hope to see more by the time high schoolers return
  • Student’s class was hijacked by porn. What security measures are being taken?
    • Carranza: We believe it was internal, investigation is ongoing.
    • Teachers and principals have guidelines and measures to be taken when situations happen.
    • External security seems to be good.
  • Staffing: In addition to changes seen (phased reopening). We agree more were needed, and we’re moving that into place.
    • Mulgrew: This new number is what we think we need to get moving through Pre-K, 3-K, District 75 and K-8 classes. The rest will be assessed with for middle and high schools.
  • "The future of New York City depends on our public schools," Mayor de Blasio said.

Happening today:
Teachers across NYC rally as they call for more safety measures to be taken before the start of in-person learning. Watch video above.

The latest official numbers:
As of Thursday afternoon, there were 447,262 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus and 25,413 deaths 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