New York State had more than 1,000 people test positive for COVID-19 on Friday, the first time the state has seen a daily number that high since June 5, according to state officials.
State officials said 99,953 tests were reported Friday, with 1,005 — or 1% — coming back positive. The state registered a rate of 0.96% the previous day.
The increasing number of positive tests might be related to college campuses reopening, children coming back into school buildings and businesses reopening, but state officials said they could not confirm that. In addition, several neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens have seen increasing case numbers and infection rates, according to the New York City Health Department.
State officials noted that the rising number may be connected to increased testing. On June 5, when the state had 1,108 cases, the number of tests stood at 77,895 — a total of 22,058 fewer tests than performed on Friday.
State officials also emphasized that the more important figure is the percent of positives. On June 5, the state had a positivity rate of 1.4%, higher than the current figure that has hovered around 1% for weeks.
Long Island’s rate stood at 0.9% Friday, with 71 new cases in Nassau, bringing its total to 46,576. Nassau tested a total of 6,733 residents, for an infection rate of 1.05% testing positive for COVID-19. Forty-six people were hospitalized with COVID-19 countywide, 19 currently in ICU and three on ventilators, according to county figures.
"We continue to hold the line at 1% positivity, which is where we’ve been since early summer," said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
Curran added, "Once the epicenter of the virus, Nassau residents are now setting an example for the rest of the nation on how to reopen safely. We’re seeing increased travel in and out of Long Island despite continual spikes across the country, so please make sure friends and family are following the state’s quarantine protocols."
Suffolk had 52 new cases out of 6,759 tests, resulting in an infection rate of 0.8%, according to county figures. Suffolk has had a total of 46,345 cases.
A total of 32 people were hospitalized, an increase of five. Six patients were in the ICU, an increase of one, according to county figures.
Statewide, hospitalizations for COVID-19 grew by 16 to 527, while the number of people in ICUs rose by 16 to 164, according to state figures. There were four deaths due to the virus in the state, with none on Long Island, according to state figures.
"It's vital that New Yorkers continue to practice the basic behaviors that drive our ability to fight COVID-19 as we move into the fall and flu season," Cuomo said. "Wearing masks, socially distancing and washing hands make a critical difference, as does the deliberate enforcement of state guidance by local governments."
He added, "We can move through COVID-19 if we stay New York Tough and if we do so together."
The State Liquor Authority and State Police Task Force visited 1,480 establishments in New York City and Long Island on Friday and observed three — all in Suffolk — that were not in compliance with state coronavirus mitigation requirements, according to state figures.
New York City registered an infection rate of 1.1% Friday, with 429 new cases, for a total of 242,311.
City health officials said they were starting to see an uptick in the number of hospitalized patients in at least one hospital in southern Brooklyn.
The rising numbers in eight communities in Brooklyn and Queens account for 23% of new cases citywide over the past two weeks, despite representing just under 7% of the city's overall population, city health officials said. The communities are Gravesend/Homecrest, Midwood, Kew Gardens, Edgemere/Far Rockaway, Borough Park, Bensonhurst/Mapleton, Gerritsen Beach/Homecrest/Sheepshead Bay and Flatlands/Midwood. For example, the percentage of tests returning positive in Kew Gardens was 3.53% Friday, and the rate in Gravesend/Homecrest was 6.73%.
On Friday night, the Health Department issued a commissioner’s order to nonpublic schools in the six Brooklyn and two Queens ZIP codes, advising them that people on the school grounds should remain at least 6 feet apart, wear face coverings at all times in the school building, and coordinate with the department on testing and contact tracing.
"This may be the most precarious position with COVID-19 we have experienced in months, and we must immediately take action to protect our communities," said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. "Protecting against COVID-19 requires a group response. It is critical for us to follow public health guidance, most importantly the Core 4: Wear face coverings, keep physical distance, keep your hands clean, and stay home if you are sick."
Schools not in compliance of the orders face violations and possible closures. The fine for violating a commissioner’s order is $1,000.