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COVID-19 cases keep dropping in New York

A Queens teen receives her first COVID-19 vaccine

A Queens teen receives her first COVID-19 vaccine shot in May.   Credit: Danielle Silverman

The number of new COVID-19 cases in New York continues to drop, with only 383 positive results out of 110,437 tests reported on Saturday, according to figures released by the state.

That’s a far cry from just one month ago, when more than 2,000 people tested positive.

Of the 383 new positive cases, 23 were in Nassau County and 30 were in Suffolk County. There were also eight fatalities in the state due to COVID-19, including one in Suffolk County.

New York is tied with Massachusetts for having the lowest seven-day average of new positive cases in the U.S. at 0.42%, according to statistics tracked by Johns Hopkins University.

But the number of New Yorkers getting vaccinated for COVID-19 needs to increase to eliminate all pandemic-related restrictions.

In an update released by the state on Sunday, officials pointed to U.S. Centers for Disease and Control statistics showing so far 69.7% of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received at least one dose and 61% have completed their vaccination series.

Last week, Cuomo said most of the COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted when 70% of people in the state, ages 18 and up, have received their first dose of the vaccine.

Those potentially lifted measures would include social distancing, hygiene protocols, capacity restrictions, health screenings and potential tracing, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said. But large venues, schools, public transportation, hospitals and nursing homes would still have to follow certain guidelines.

"New York's COVID-19 numbers continue to hit record lows and New Yorkers are ready to return to normal, and that's why we're reducing restrictions and providing vaccination incentives across New York State," Cuomo said in a statement released Sunday.

"Vaccination is the key to our success, and New Yorkers who get vaccinated improve the public health and protect their families and friends," he said. "We can move forward into a bright future together, but we need anyone who hasn't gotten the vaccine yet to make an appointment or simply walk into a site today."

The state is offering several incentives aimed at getting more people to take the COVID-19 vaccine, including full scholarships to CUNY and SUNY schools for people between the ages of 12 and 17. So far, 20 young people from across the state have been awarded scholarships, including three Long Islanders.

According to state figures, 256,531 people between the ages of 12 and 15 — about 28.5% of that population — have received at least one dose of the vaccine in New York. That's the lowest percentage of any age group.

Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in 12- to 17-year-olds. Moderna announced last week it has applied to the FDA for an emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccines after clinical trials showed its effectiveness in preventing the disease in 12- to 17-year-olds.

Later this week, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet and discuss several issues related to the vaccine including reports of myocarditis in people after they have received the vaccine, the benefits and risks of certain COVID-19 vaccines in adolescents and young adults and a review of data to "information recommendations for additional doses of COVID-19."