2021 State of the State
Today Governor Cuomo announced that the 2021 State of the State address will “start” this coming Monday, January 11th. Without giving any further details, he indicated that the State of the State will be held virtually this year and that more information on it will follow throughout this week.
First Case of Second COVID-19 Strain in State
During an afternoon conference call, the Governor announced that the State Department of Health has identified the first case of the new strain of COVID initially identified in the United Kingdom here in Saratoga County.
This new strain has been identified to be 70% more communicable from person-to-person but up to this point no more deadly to those who catch it. The identified case was located at a downtown Saratoga Springs jewelry store where there are currently three other identified cases of COVID that are also currently being tested for this specific new strain. DOH will be doing an in-depth contact tracing investigation into this case.
Vaccine Roll Out
Governor Cuomo identified three main avenues currently for the State’s vaccination program. They are:
- The federally run Nursing Home Program, where national pharmacy chains are used to administer the vaccines. There are 611 facilities in NY that fall into this category and currently 288 of them have received their first dose for residents, with a planned 234 more to be completed by the end of this week.
- Hospitals, which have seen mixed success when it comes to the use of their allocations of the vaccine, with six hospitals having administered 25% or less of their allotted vaccines. These six are:
- Samaritan Hospital – 15%
- A.O. Fox Hospital-Tri-Town Campus – 18%
- Nassau University Medical Center – 19%
- Nuvance Health – 24%
- United Health Services Hospitals, Inc. – 25%
- Rochester Regional Health System – 25%
In response to this slower than expected roll out the Governor stated that any provider must use its current inventory this week or receive a fine of up to $100,000. In addition to this, moving forward all providers must use all doses within seven days of receipt. If they do not accomplish this they could be disqualified from future vaccine distributions.
- Pop-up vaccine sites in partnership with local communities that the State will begin to use for distribution. These sites will include churches, community centers and public housing entities with a focus on poor and underserved communities. There will also be a renewed focus on the recruitment of additional retired personal nurses, doctors and pharmacists.
Vaccine Priority Levels
Today it was announced that there was an expansion to the State’s membership in Priority Vaccination Group. This expansion will allow for all health care workers to now be classified as 1A on the priority list and become eligible to receive the vaccine.
School Status Update
With some communities now edging over 9% positivity rate according to the State’s numbers, Governor Cuomo stated that schools can remain open if they choose to do so but only if the school’s positivity rate is lower than the local community rate.
New York State COVID-19 Numbers
The statewide positivity rate yesterday was 8.34% with 8,251 hospitalizations, an increase of 288 people over the previous day. There were 170 COVID-19 deaths in New York State yesterday.