Statewide COVID-19 positivity rate continues to fall

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On Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered sweeping business reopening guidelines as the statewide COVID-19 positivity rate fell to 1.94%.

While seven day average rates were down 50% over the last month, there were 37 COVID-19 deaths across the state on Sunday.

The governor urged continued efforts to lower numbers.

"New Yorkers have shown strength and resiliency through an incredibly difficult time in our lives, and the numbers are declining as we make progress fighting this pandemic. As vaccination rates go up, we're making the vaccine easier to access and improving the state's public health by establishing walk-in appointments and new pop-up sites," Cuomo said in a statement, further urging everyone to get fully vaccinated if they had not already done so.

More than seven million state residents are now fully vaccinated.

Also on Monday, Cuomo along with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont jointly announced the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on the region's businesses, venues and gatherings given significant progress in vaccinations and sustained reduction in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. 

Among the changes beginning May 19, “most business capacities—which are currently based upon percentage of maximum occupancy—will be removed in New York and New Jersey. Businesses will only be limited by the space available for patrons or parties of patrons to maintain the required social distance of 6 feet. This new distance-based maximum capacity will apply across commercial settings, including retail, food services, gyms and fitness centers, amusement and family entertainment, hair salons, barber shops and other personal care services, among other settings. It will also apply in houses of worship,” reads a release.

In other changes for New York, beginning May 10 the outdoor social gathering limit will increase from 200 to 500 people. And starting May 19, the indoor social gathering limit will increase from 100 to 250 people. 

“In New York, any event gatherings in excess of the social gathering limits may only occur if all individuals present proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result,” a release continues.

Under the upcoming guideline changes, venues that host sports competitions, performing arts and live entertainment, and catered receptions—will be able to exceed social gathering limits of 500 people outdoors or 250 people indoors, “if all attendees over the age of four present either proof of full vaccination status or recent negative COVID-19 test result and the required social distancing can be accommodated,” notes a release.

Oneida County numbers

Work continues locally to vaccinate Oneida County’s population.

According to state records, as of Monday afternoon, about 44% of the county population above the age of 16 is fully vaccinated.

According to county officials, vaccination appointments and walk-ins are currently available at multiple Oneida County-operated vaccination PODs.  

To view all dates and to book an appointment, visit: www.ocgov.net.

On May 2, there were 19 new positive cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths in Oneida County.

There were eight patients hospitalized in Oneida County with seven at Mohawk Valley Health System and one at Rome Health. Six residents are hospitalized out of the county.

MVHS vaccine distribution

In a Monday release, the Mohawk Valley Health System announced several special “pop-up” vaccine PODs for anyone over 18-years-old. 

The PODs will be distributing the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) single-dose vaccines, free of charge, at the following locations:

• Tuesday, May 4 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

FX Matt Apts, ND Peters & Adrean Terrace Apts. Community Center, located at 1736 Armory Drive in Utica;

• Wednesday, May 5 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Jervis Library, located at 613 N Washington St. in Rome;

• Thursday, May 6 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The Center at 201 Bleecker St. in Utica;

• Friday and Saturday, May 7 and 8, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Bargain Grocer, located at 1110 Lincoln Ave. in Utica.

Those wishing to get a vaccine at one of these PODs this week, may schedule an appointment at mvhealthsystem.org/vaccine-network; or walk in while the clinic is open.

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