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New York's COVID-19 hospitalization numbers edge upward

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday said the number of people hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 has risen to 1,059, while positivity rates continue to fall in the red zone focus areas in Brooklyn, Rockland and Orange counties. Credit: NY Governor's Office

The number of people hospitalized statewide in New York with COVID-19 has risen to 1,059, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday, while positivity rates continue to fall over a seven-day rolling average in the red zone focus areas in Brooklyn, Rockland and Orange counties.

Sunday's hospitalization figure was an increase of 44 over Saturday's. The total number of people hospitalized with the virus pushed past 1,000 last week for the first time since June.

Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling average in the remaining red zone microclusters that faced increased restrictions after spikes in cases dropped from 5.05% to 3.93%, state data shows.

New York has continued to cut the COVID-19 infection level by nearly half in red zones throughout the state after the new restrictions were imposed. The week of Oct. 4-10, the total red zone positive rate was 6.99%, according to the data.

"You see that compliance and enforcement works," Cuomo said at a news briefing in Albany. "If people comply, the infection rate is going to be lower."

The levels also continued to drop in the overall "hot spots" or "microclusters," which include surrounding orange and yellow zones as well where levels are not as high. The level Sunday in all zones combined was 3.25%, continuing a trend where the level in those zones has hovered slightly above 3% for the last three weeks.

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It is down from 6.9% the week of Sept. 27-Oct. 3 before Cuomo imposed new restrictions in those neighborhoods, shutting schools and nonessential businesses, and limiting houses of worship to no more than 10 people at a time.

The infection level statewide on Sunday was 1.18% excluding the red zones, which are oversampled, and 1.45% including them, he said. Twelve people died Sunday of causes related to COVID-19.

Cuomo criticized President Donald Trump and his administration for what the governor said was giving up on controlling the virus. Cuomo pointed to comments Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff, made on CNN Sunday as indicative of that approach.

"We are not going to control the pandemic," Meadows said on CNN's "State of the Union." "We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas."

Cuomo called that approach "preemptive capitulation," and said New York’s experience with COVID-19 proves the virus can be brought under control.

"We’re not going to control the pandemic, all we can do is develop a vaccine and a therapeutic. That’s what they believe. That’s what they believed from day one," Cuomo said.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said Monday that the county has no intention of giving up in the fight to control the virus.

"Giving up is not an option," she said. "With an overall infection rate of 1.3% in Nassau County, this virus remains unpredictable, and we remain steadfast in our mission to keep residents safe."

The number of people hospitalized in Nassau on Sunday with the virus was 67, down from last week when the figure peaked at 72, Curran's office said. The high in the county was 2,477 on April 14.

New York went from being a global epicenter of the pandemic to having some of the lowest infection levels in the country and the world, Cuomo said.

Instead of seeing just two options — close down the economy or let the virus spread — New York pursued a third strategy: control the virus and stage a phased reopening of the economy, Cuomo said.

Trump on Monday denied the federal government has given up on trying to control the virus.

"No, not at all. In fact, the opposite. Absolutely the opposite. We’ve done an incredible job," Trump told reporters in Allentown, Pennsylvania, as he said again that the United States is "absolutely rounding the corner" even though the country set a single-day record of 83,010 coronavirus cases on Friday.

The United States has more cases of COVID-19 — over 8.6 million — and more deaths caused by the virus — over 225,000 — than any country.

The infection level on Long Island in testing completed Sunday was 1.2%, and 1.4% in New York City. The number of new confirmed cases was 65 in Nassau, 54 in Suffolk and 424 in New York City.

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