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NY records 36th straight day with COVID-19 infection rate below 1%

"Testing is a cornerstone of our efforts to

"Testing is a cornerstone of our efforts to keep New Yorkers safe from COVID-19," said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, seen earlier this week. Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt

New York State had two deaths — one in Nassau County — from COVID-19 on Friday as it registered a record number of tests and continued to keep its infection rate below 1%, according to state figures.

The two deaths — the other was in Albany County — represented a dramatic and sustained improvement from the early days of the pandemic, when the state was seeing nearly 800 deaths a day. A total of 25,384 people statewide have died from the coronavirus.

Of 102,925 tests reported Friday — a record high — 849, or 0.82%, were positive. The figure marked the 36th straight day that the infection rate remained below 1%, the state said.

"Testing is a cornerstone of our efforts to keep New Yorkers safe from COVID-19. The more testing you do, the more accurate a picture of the virus' spread you have," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said.

"But testing alone isn't enough, and we need residents to continue to wear masks, socially distance and wash their hands," he added.

Statistics on LI

Long Island saw its infection rate inch up to 1.4%, compared with 1.3% on Thursday and 1% Wednesday, the figures showed. Cuomo and other state officials have said the recent increase in cases on Long Island might be linked to students at SUNY Oneonta who are from Long Island. The college sent home students after an outbreak of more than 650 cases.

Of the 5,742 Nassau County residents tested for the virus Friday, 83 came back positive, making its positivity rate 1.4%, according to county figures. The new cases bring Nassau's total to 45,633.

"It’s important to note that our testing results include students at colleges outside the county that list Nassau as their home address, and that 38% of our confirmed cases over the past week were between the ages of 18-22 years old," said County Executive Laura Curran.

There are 37 COVID-19-related hospitalized patients in Nassau County’s 11 hospitals. Of those, six are on ventilators, the county reported.

Suffolk saw 81 new cases, bringing its total to 45,615. The county registered an infection rate of 1.3%, according to county figures. A total of 35 people were hospitalized, an increase of five in a 24-hour period, the county said. Five patients were in the intensive care unit.

Suffolk has seen a total of 2,008 fatalities from the virus.

New York City had 306 new cases. As of Saturday afternoon, there have been 233,216 lab-confirmed cases since February — which is likely an approximately tenfold undercount — according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

There have been 57,417 hospitalizations in New York City and 23,743 deaths, of which 4,623 weren't confirmed by lab tests but are suspected to have a probable cause of coronavirus due to the symptoms. As of Sept. 9, the most recent date available, 0.4% of those tested have coronavirus, the department said.

The governor also announced that New York State has distributed 6 million bottles of NYS Clean hand sanitizer.

The State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited 1,359 establishments in New York City and Long Island on Friday and observed four that were not in compliance with state requirements. That included one establishment in Suffolk and another in Nassau, the state said.

Other developments

Meanwhile, Oxford University announced Saturday it was resuming a trial for a coronavirus vaccine it is developing with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, a move that comes days after the study was suspended following a reported side effect in a U.K. patient.

The vaccine being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca is widely perceived to be one of the strongest contenders among the dozens of coronavirus vaccines in various stages of testing around the world.

Also, coronavirus infections in the Dakotas are growing faster than anywhere else in the United States. North Dakota and South Dakota lead the country in new cases per capita over the last two weeks, ranking first and second respectively, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Infections have been spurred by schools and universities reopening and mass gatherings like the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which drew hundreds of thousands of people from across the country. The Republican governors of both states have eschewed mask requirements.

With Matthew Chayes and AP.

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