Nicole Epstein, with Gotham Public Relations, sends in a quick recap of Governor Cuomo's COVID-19 briefings. Here are her notes from Governor Cuomo’s conference call:

COVID:

  • Day 312
  • Statewide positivity rate without micro-clusters: 8.13%
  • Statewide rate with micro-clusters: 8.41%
  • Micro-cluster rate: 9%
  • 197,816 tests conducted
  • 161 deaths
  • 8,665 hospitalizations, up 75
  • 1,408 ICU patients, up 16
  • 877 intubations, up 26

Hospitalizations by Region:

  • Capital Region: 472 (0.04%)
  • Central NY: 403 (0.05%)
  • Finger Lakes: 934, (0.08%)
  • Long Island: 1,614 (0.06%)
  • Mid-Hudson: 984 (0.04%)
  • Mohawk Valley: 306 (0.06%)
  • North Country: 85 (0.02%)
  • NYC: 3,107 (0.04%)
  • Southern Tier: 220 (0.03%)
  • Western NY: 540 (0.04%)

Positivity Rate by Region:

  • Bronx: 7.48%
  • Brooklyn: 6.38%
  • Capital Region: 10.07%
  • Central NY: 9.13%
  • Finger Lakes: 10.29%
  • Long Island: 9.52%
  • Manhattan 3.98%
  • Mid Hudson: 8.18%
  • Mohawk Valley: 10.67%
  • North Country: 9.19%
  • NYC: 6.39%
  • Queens: 7.47%
  • Southern Tier: 5.56%
  • Staten Island:7.82%
  • Western NY: 8.76%

Vaccine:

  • Governor said first priority is to protect hospital capacity and staff, particularly with new strain being found in NY
  • Governor said the hospital staff vaccination rate has been improving dramatically this week, has tripled since Monday
  • If a hospital hits unacceptable refusal rate among staff, the vaccine will be reallocated to another facility that needs it
  • Governor said 85% of hospital staff surveyed will accept the vaccine
  • Next tier after healthcare workers is over 6 million people, Governor said it may take weeks or months to vaccinate
  • Other vaccines will be approved, the supply available is expected to increase
  • Large scale distribution to the general public is expected in March or April

Federal:

  • Governor criticized federal government's lack of response to UK COVID strain
  • Governor sent letter today to DHS Secretary Wolf, CDC Director Redfield, requesting US Customs and Border Protection test all incoming international travelers
  • UK strain case in Saratoga Springs, NY may be a result of travel to UK
  • Governor congratulated U.S. Sen. Schumer as incoming Majority Leader
  • Governor said NY has been a "victim" of Washington for four years, state should be "compensated"
  • Governor says state was subject to $15 billion in COVID damage, lower Medicaid reimbursement rates, cuts to infrastructure funding and cessation of trusted traveler program
  • Governor asserted SALT raised property taxes $4 billion per year

State of the State:

  • Governor said he will rewrite state of the state based on election outcomes in Georgia but said this is a "good development"
  • Governor added he will not be attending the Bills game this weekend, is giving his ticket to a nurse in Erie County
  • Testing of Buffalo Bills (NFL) fans began this morning

Q&A:

On what Governor expects in stimulus package:
  • Governor said local governments, tenants, landlords, small businesses, and "building for the post-COVID world" will need to be taken into account
  • Governor said he is only requesting what is fair, which is $15 billion for this year

On sports betting, legalization of marijuana being addressed in State of the State:
  • Governor said the state will "do its part" to raise revenue in addition to stimulus from federal government
  • Other states that allow sports betting allow casinos to run operations, but this does not bring in revenue to the state, NY will do it differently
  • Mujica added other states contract with private sector, state gets residuals, which could be up to $500 million per year
  • Governor said he believes legalizing marijuana should have been done years ago
  • Mujica stated legalizing marijuana once fully effective, $300 million a year is expected, but will take years to get to that level

On how the state will ensure all residents comply with vaccine:
  • Governor agreed this is still complicated, will be difficult to get to 70-90% vaccination rate
  • Governor said an aggressive education campaign will be released once the vaccine is available to the general public

On why Governor is requesting travel restrictions when the new strain is already in NY, what NY is doing to contain it, and updates on Saratoga case:
  • Governor said he contacted airlines from UK to prevent the strain coming into NY when it was first discovered
  • The state has been testing for the new strain, and contact tracing the confirmed case
  • The person who has the confirmed case was in contact with someone who had traveled to the UK
  • Governor said numerous mutations can be expected, saying this underscores the need for travel restrictions and testing travelers

On Mayor de Blasio's comments that NYPD can begin being vaccinated today:
  • Governor said only healthcare workers are eligible, but this includes EMS/EMT, police are not eligible as of yet

On an incident with state police in Ulster that left 11 year old girl dead:
  • Governor said he has not heard of this incident, but will check with state police
  • DeRosa added conflicting reports were released initially, but is under review

On why Governor has not opened up vaccine to next tier if allocations are not being utilized by hospitals:
  • Governor said there is not enough supply for that, so far, there are only 900,000 doses for 2.1 million healthcare workers, who are top priority
  • There are still healthcare workers that have not received it, until this is the case, there is no additional supply available

On downstate casino licenses, and whether Governor has given any consideration to opening these prior to 2023:
  • Governor stated he has not considered this