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 354
  • 3.58% statewide positivity rate
  • 3.6% rate on 7-day average, lowest since Nov. 28th
  • 109 deaths
  • 6,574 hospitalizations, down 46
  • ICU patients up 2
  • Intubations down 24
  • 82 U.K. variant cases, up 12 since Saturday, 11 of those are in NYC

Positivity Rate by Region:

  • Bronx: 5.7%
  • Brooklyn: 4.3%
  • Capital Region: 2.0%
  • Central NY: 1.6%
  • Finger Lakes: 2.2%
  • Long Island: 4.5%
  • Manhattan: 2.5%
  • Mid Hudson: 4.4%
  • Mohawk Valley: 1.9%
  • North Country: 3.7%
  • NYC: 4.3%
  • Queens: 4.5%
  • Southern Tier: 0.8%
  • Staten Island: 4.4%
  • Western NY: 3.1%

Vaccinations:

  • 3.3 million total doses have been administered
  • 2.2 million first-doses administered
  • 1 million second-doses administered
  • 94% of weeks’ 1-9 doses administered
  • President Biden announced increase in doses for week 11
  • Governor spoke with local officials yesterday on the distribution program
  • Governor discussed confusion in distribution system between federal government, states and localities
  • Governor said once there is adequate supply, multiple points of distribution will be beneficial
  • Governor said he stressed equitable distribution be prioritized by local officials
  • Governor stated inequities are partially due to access, partially due to hesitancy to accept vaccine
  • 91 pop-up vaccination sites, 13 more to come this week
  • Governor said joint state-FEMA mass vaccination sites will be opened in Queens and Brooklyn
  • Another four will open in "socially vulnerable" communities in Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, and Yonkers
  • Each site will have capacity to administer 1,000 doses a day
  • Governor announced all nursing home residents and staff have been vaccinated except for those who have refused
  • Governor stated storms across the country might be delaying delivery of vaccine doses this week

Amusement Parks, Summer Camps:

  • Effective March 26th, indoor family entertainment centers can reopen at 25% capacity, with safety protocols
  • DOH will issue guidance
  • Attractions that cannot be cleaned or socially distanced must remain closed
  • Outdoor amusement parks can open April 9 at 33% capacity with safety protocols in place
  • Summer camps can plan to reopen for now provided numbers do not increase, testing protocol required

On Assemblymember Kim:

  • Governor addressed "hostile" relationship with Assemblymember Ron Kim
  • Governor said this stemmed from a bill regarding nail salons, which Kim supported then changed his position on
  • Governor asserted Kim used his lobbying firm to lobby on behalf of business owners in his district against the bill
  • Governor asserted Kim still utilizes his own lobbying firm to raise campaign funds, which Governor called "unethical" and potentially illegal
  • Governor continued that Kim's criticism on nursing home data is "wrong"
  • Governor repeated that the legislature was informed about the delays in releasing data from DOH
  • Governor stated the immunity bill Kim criticized was passed in the budget by the legislature

On NY Post's coverage of Nursing Home:

  • Governor claimed NY Post is politically-driven, presenting Republicans' point of view
  • Governor referenced directive from DOH on March 25th, stating this guidance originally came from the CDC
  • Governor stated health experts do not believe this guidance was a mistake, but suggested if it is, it is the responsibility of the federal government

Q&A:

On Governor's previous comments on oversight of his emergency powers, nursing homes:
  • Governor said oversight is "fine", is the role of the legislature
  • Governor stated his previous comments were that an investigation is not needed because he admitted data was withheld for a reason, and the legislature was notified
  • Governor said it is extortion if the legislature conducts investigations, threatens subpoenas in order to gain more control over the budget
  • Governor asserted extortion was brought up by the media, said those were not comments from him
  • Governor again acknowledged a "void" in information being made public by his administration, stating it created confusion

On nursing home vaccinations, and how to ensure those coming into facilities will be vaccinated:
  • Governor said the state will keep doses on reserve for new residents, staff that might be coming in
  • Local DOHs will have the supply, facilities will contact them
  • Rhodes added unused doses are currently being collected from pharmacies to provide to local health departments
  • Governor added that residual allocations from hospitals are being provided to local health departments, which is approximately an additional 10%, to administer to those with comorbidities

On when visitation for long-term care facilities will be reinstated:
  • Governor stated caution is still needed despite the availability of the vaccine
  • Governor stressed that the vaccine is not mandatory, and although every resident was offered vaccine, not all accepted it
  • Rhodes stated 49% of current staff, and 73% of residents have been vaccinated
  • Zucker added that rapid testing for staff is being prioritized, as staff is still bringing the virus into facilities
  • Zucker reiterated even if vaccinated, the virus can still spread

On if Biden DOJ has contacted Gov. on nursing homes:
  • Governor said DOJ did not become a new agency with Biden's inauguration

On Governor's comments on Assemblymember Kim, and whether divisive rhetoric should be refrained from:
  • Governor said he "works very hard to be cooperative", condemned "hyper-vitriolic" rhetoric
  • Governor claimed Assemblymember Kim personally attacked him via press release with accusations, and he is correcting the information
  • Governor repeated he believes Kim acted illegally with his lobbying firm, and believes this is relevant