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COVID-19 positivity rate continues to decline in New York, state says

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at a news

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks at a news conference in New York on Wednesday. Credit: AP/Spencer Platt

COVID-19 indicators in New York continued their downward spiral on Friday, with the state marking its 32nd day in a row of declines in its seven-day average for positivity in tests for the virus.

The daily positivity average statewide was 1.22%, the lowest since Oct. 22, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. The seven-day average in the test results from Thursday was 1.53%.

On Long Island, the seven-day average dropped to 1.45%, while in New York City it was 1.44%. Just weeks ago, those two places regularly had positivity rates above 4%.

"As the COVID-19 numbers improve and more residents get vaccinated, we're reopening our economy and getting New Yorkers back to work," Cuomo said. But, he cautioned, people still need to follow virus mitigation measures such as wearing a mask and socially distancing to "finally defeat this COVID beast for good."

Statewide, 25 people died Thursday of causes linked to the coronavirus, including two in Nassau County and three in Suffolk County. That was a far drop from the worst days of the pandemic last spring, when nearly 800 people a day were dying in New York State of causes related to COVID-19.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in test results Thursday was 122 in Nassau, 169 in Suffolk and 890 in New York City. Just a few weeks ago, Nassau and Suffolk each were surpassing New York City’s current daily number of new cases.

In New York City, COVID-19 indicators are "going in the right direction, and really this is something to celebrate," Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer on Friday.

Meanwhile, Northwell Health said Friday it was sending 1 million KN95 respirators, 35 ventilators and — in conjunction with the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin — 1,000 oxygen concentrators to India, which is suffering a brutal second wave of COVID-19.

India has registered more than 350,000 COVID-19 cases daily over the past week and crossed 400,000 on Friday — a global record.

"We've been working with our partners and vendors [in the United States] to get supplies donated, to get shipping and cargo and air freight donated, to get supplies as quickly as possible," said Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena, director for Northwell's Center for Global Health, which was created in 2019 to promote and provide global health support.

New York also continued to march forward with its vaccination campaign, Cuomo said, though the pace has slowed and more people need to get the shots.

More than 1 million shots were administered in the past week, he said, including 161,388 in the last 24 hours. A total of 16.4 million shots have been administered to date in New York.

Statewide, 59.4% of New Yorkers over age 18 have received at least one shot, Cuomo said. Some 47% of those 18 or older are fully vaccinated.

In Southampton, Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons will mark the 7,000th vaccine dose administered there on Monday.

Medical professionals from Stony Brook Southampton Hospital will give 1,000 second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines on Monday and Tuesday — the 11th and 12th vaccination events the church has hosted for the hospital over the past two months, said Dormition pastor Father Alexander Karloutsos. He said he approached the hospital to offer the church as a vaccination site.

"Healing is a big part of the Judeo-Christian tradition," he said. "It’s part of any human tradition. Health is our greatest wealth. We’re very committed to that."

Karloutsos called the vaccines "man-made miraculous drugs that God inspired in the hearts and minds of these scientists."

More than 20 parishioners help with each event — signing people in, helping them fill out forms, wiping down chairs, keeping people socially distant, among other tasks, said Xanthi Karloutsos, who oversees the volunteers and is Alexander Karloutsos’ wife.

"We are committed to the health care of the East End," Karloutsos said. "That’s a part of the Gospel."

With Matthew Chayes, David Olson and David Reich-Hale

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