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COVID-19 positivity rate, hospitalizations, intubations at lowest levels since November, state says

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo holds a press briefing

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo holds a press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic in Buffalo on April 29. Credit: AP / The Buffalo News / John Hickey

May arrived with more good news in the battle against COVID-19, as hospitalizations, intubations and the state's positivity rate dropped to their lowest levels since November, officials said Saturday.

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 dropped to 2,729 in New York on Friday, 108 fewer than the day before and the lowest level since Nov. 22, according to state figures. Also, the number of people in ICUs dropped to 658, the lowest level since Nov. 27, the figures showed.

New York also saw the lowest single-day positivity rate for the coronavirus — 1.6% — since Nov. 3, the figures showed.

"New York is beating back COVID every single day as more people take the vaccine and we continue to keep the positivity and hospitalization rates down," Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. "The numbers are all trending in the right direction, and as a result we're able to open the valves on our reopening even more and increase capacity for different industries."

The state had 3,725 of 232,942 people tested show positive results for the virus, state figures said.

Twenty-five people died of COVID-19-related causes Friday, with one being in Suffolk, state figures said.

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On Long Island, the seven-day average positivity rate for the coronavirus was 1.97% on Friday, compared with 2.08% on Wednesday and 2.05% on Thursday.

Nassau registered 232 new cases.

"I am happy to report that COVID-19 transmission is down, vaccinations are up, and Nassau County is on its way to victory over the virus," said County Executive Laura Curran. "New cases in Nassau County have nose-dived, and the population testing positive continues to trend younger due to high vaccination rates among seniors."

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Nassau County dropped to 197, compared to 1,300 one year ago, Curran said.

"The key difference between last year and this year is that today we have half the eligible population fully vaccinated, 53% of the total population with at least one vaccine dose, and 71% of adults with at least one vaccine dose," she said.

Suffolk had a total of 261 new cases Friday, according to state figures.

Cuomo also updated New Yorkers on the state's COVID-19 vaccination program Saturday.

A total of 159,863 doses have been administered across the state in the last 24 hours, and more than 1.2 million doses have been administered over the past seven days, he said.

"Our progress on vaccinations remains steady and strong — more than one in three New Yorkers are fully vaccinated and we're administering over 1 million shots a week," Cuomo said. "We're nearing the light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have more ground to cover before we reach herd immunity."

All New York State mass vaccination sites are now open to eligible New Yorkers for walk-in vaccinations on a first-come, first-serve basis. The walk-in appointments are reserved for first doses only, with second doses to be scheduled automatically after administration of the initial shot.

People who would prefer to schedule an appointment at a state-run mass vaccination site can do so on the "Am I Eligible" app or by calling 1-833-NYS-4-VAX. People may also contact their local health department, pharmacy, doctor or hospital to schedule appointments where vaccines are available, or visit vaccinefinder.org to find information on vaccine appointments near them.

On Long Island, 1.17 million people had received at least one dose of the vaccine by Friday, an increase of 16,122 from the previous day, state figured showed.

A total of 859,168 people on Long Island had received both shots by Friday, a bump of 19,762 over the day before, figures showed.

The daily infection rate continues to fall for New York City residents — down to 3.14% of those tested on a seven-day average as of Thursday, the latest data available, compared to 5.14% on April 16, the figures said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has cited all these metrics in setting a July 1 reopening goal for the city — without restrictions.

"This is all great news, but now is not the time to let our guard down," Cuomo said. "COVID is still a very real threat, and I urge everyone to stay vigilant and keep practicing the behaviors we know slow the spread of the virus."

With Matthew Chayes

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