NYS COVID-19 hospitalizations up to 8,888, positivity rate down to 5.77 pct: governor

By Xia Lin

NEW YORK, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Total COVID-19 hospitalizations reached 8,888 on Friday in New York State, up from 8,808 on Thursday, tweeted Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday.

Of the 277,286 COVID-19 tests reported on Friday in the state, 15,998 were positive, or 5.77 percent of the total, down from 6.14 percent one day earlier, said Cuomo, adding that the fatalities went down to 157 on Friday, compared with 183 on Thursday.

"New York is fighting to beat back COVID as we distribute the limited vaccine available as quickly as possible," the governor was quoted as saying in an official release.

"We're deploying all the tools in our toolbox -- making sure hospitals have enough capacity and conducting ever-higher numbers of tests -- to keep New Yorkers as safe as possible," he said.

"But our actions as individuals and as communities to stay socially distanced, wear masks and wash our hands are of vital importance, as is the willingness of local governments to enforce the rules. When communities decide to slow the spread, it will slow down. It's purely a function of our actions," he added.

Cuomo announced on Friday that the first five community vaccination kits had been deployed to NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority) housing developments across New York City. These sites bolster New York State's efforts to equitably distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in communities that are underserved by traditional healthcare institutions.

"We have one priority and one priority alone -- getting shots into arms -- and as we continue our work to expand the network of vaccination sites, it's critical to make sure the vaccine is distributed fairly and equitably," he said.

"Getting the vaccine to New Yorkers who are underserved by traditional health care institutions or living in health care deserts is a top priority, and these sites in NYCHA housing bring us a step closer to that goal. New York is doing its part in getting the vaccine distributed quickly and fairly, but we need the federal government to step up and increase the supply," he added.

As of Saturday noon, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University reported 40,745 coronavirus deaths in New York State, the worst in the country.

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