BUFFALO, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled to Buffalo Wednesday to make an announcement from Sahlen Field, which is where the Toronto Blue Jays are schedule to open its MLB season in the coming weeks.
The governor announced the following coronavirus data Wednesday:
- 165,892 COVID-19 tests reported statewide Tuesday
- 1.10% positivity rate statewide (lowest since October 17, 2020)
- 26 new COVID-19 deaths in New York
- 1,928 statewide hospitalizations (lowest since November 14, 2020)
- 463 in ICU (lowest since November 19, 2020)
- 270 intubated (lowest since November 22, 2020)
“We have great news on the COVID numbers today,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Our statewide positivity rate is 1.1%. What does that mean? The national rate is 4%, we’re at 1%, so we’re one quarter of what the national COVID positivity rate is, and that’s a function purely of the good work of New Yorkers. So yes, we’re doing great, but no, we have not yet fully conquered the COVID beast, and we have to remember that, and we have to continue that.”
The governor said the state has now seen 37 consecutive days of average positivity rate decline.
The seven-day average positivity rates per region in New York are as follows:
- Finger Lakes — 2.87%
- Western New York — 2.3%
- North Country — 2%
- Mohawk Valley — 1.49%
- Capital Region — 1.42%
- Mid-Hudson — 1.23%
- Long Island — 1.16%
- Central New York — 1.14%
- New York City — 1.11%
- Southern Tier — 0.6%
“Why the variance? Why the variance? ” Gov. Cuomo said. “Why do you have New York City at 1.1% and Western New York at 2.3% That question is for a better mind than mine, but it’s something that should be considered, and the variance, I believe, is attributable to the actions of that community, right? What’s my chance of getting infected? You’re chance of getting infected depends on your behaviors and what you do.”
The governor said 50% of New Yorkers aged 18 and up are now fully vaccinated. The state’s vaccination progress, according to the governor Wednesday, is as follows:
- 17,054,335 vaccine doses administered statewide
- 9,733,468 New Yorkers with at lest one dose — 60.7% of 18+ population
- 7,972,909 New Yorkers fully vaccinated — 50% of 18% population
“To me, the most important metric now is the vaccine rate,” Gov. Cuomo said. “We’ve done 17 million shows statewide, which is phenomenal when you think about it. 60% of people 18-plus have at least one dose, 50% of those people are now fully vaccinated, but the vaccination rate of people coming in for the vaccine has declined. That’s troubling.”
“You don’t have to care about my opinion, you don’t have to care about my philosophy, but a fact is a fact, and the inarguable fact across the world is that as vaccination goes up, positivity goes down,” Gov. Cuomo said.
The FDA announced Monday the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine has been authorized for emergency use in adolescents 12 to 15 years old. Previously, only those 16+ were eligible for the vaccine.
According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, vaccination for the 12-15 age group could begin in New York as soon as Thursday of this week.
Studies conducted by Pfizer showed the vaccine not only was safe for teenagers, but also nearly eliminated all risk of catching COVID-19.
The governor said the vaccination is simply the best path forward to ending the pandemic and the process of repairing the damage left in COVID’s wake.
“The vaccine allows us to get on with life,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Life is about living. This past year has been hell, and life has been on hold, and untold damage has been done. We’re going to be assessing the damage of the past year for years to come. Everybody talks about the economic damage, how about the social damage?”
The governor announced that beaches and pools in New York can open with six feet of social distancing for Memorial Day.
“Our goal is to go 100% for all beaches nd pools statewide by the 4th of July,” Gov. Cuomo said. “If the numbers keep going the way they are, we would be able to do that.”
Tickets for the first eight Blue Jays “home” games at Sahlen Field in Buffalo were set to go on sale Thursday, but on Tuesday morning, the team announced that the public sale would be delayed until May 20 at 10 a.m.
“Summer is coming, let’s play ball!” Gov. Cuomo said. “Today we’re announcing at Sahlen Field opening for the Blue Jays on July 1.”
Consistent with baseball spectator rules announced last week by the governor, 50% of the stadium will be allotted for vaccinated sections with normal seating, and the other 50% for unvaccinated people with sections and six feet of distancing. Masks for all, tickets go on sale May 20. This is another reason to get vaccinated.”
The governor also announced that Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available for fans at Blue Jays games, and those who receive the shot at that clinic will receive a free ticket to a Buffalo Bisons game in the 2022 season.
“We would give you a free ticket to the Bisons game this season, but then you would have to go to Trenton to watch the game and we don’t want that,” Gov. Cuomo said. “You get the vaccine, baseball, free transit home: Team, we call that a grand slam. This is the first time in 105 years the fans will watch a Major League Baseball in Buffalo.”
Watch the full press briefing
This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide updates as they become available.