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NYS Coronavirus Update: Cluster Zone Lookup Tool -- Holiday Shopping Guidance

At the current rate of increase in COVID cases, we're very likely to see a major COVID spike after the holiday. In three weeks, hospitalizations have gone up 128 percent—we went from 1,200 total hospitalizations in the state to about 2,800 total hospitalizations now. We anticipated this fall surge but doesn't make the numbers any easier to see. Now the holiday season is upon us, a 38-day period of increased social activity. And the more social activity there is, the more the virus is going to spread. So, once again, I urge New Yorkers to take caution over the Thanksgiving holiday and the days ahead. Get tested if you have symptoms or have reason to believe you were exposed to the virus. Wear a mask, particularly indoors. Let's keep one another safe.

Photo of the Day: Distributing Thanksgiving turkeys at a socially distanced event at the Wyandanch-Wheatley Heights Ambulance Corp. Headquarters in Long Island (Photo by Kevin Coughlin)

Here's what else you need to know tonight:

1. Total hospitalizations rose to 2,856. The positivity rate in the micro-cluster focus areas was 4.13 percent. Excluding these areas, it was 2.62 percent. Of the 164,761 tests reported yesterday, 4,881, or 2.96 percent, were positive. Sadly, we lost 47 New Yorkers to the virus.

2. Look up any address in the state and see if it's in a cluster zone. New Yorkers can look up any address to determine if it is in or near an existing cluster zone using this tool on the State's website. The tool includes a navigable, regularly updated map of New York State that shows all the current cluster zones in the state.

3. The State Department of Health released guidance on shopping safely this holiday season. Winter holiday activities, such as shopping and social gatherings, present a risk of COVID-19 spread to New Yorkers, particularly within areas of the state where confirmed cases and clusters have recently increased. The Department of Health issued new guidance to help both businesses and New Yorkers prepare for holiday shopping, urging New Yorkers to avoid crowds, wear face coverings in public, and stay home if they feel sick.

4. No New Yorker should go to bed hungry, especially on Thanksgiving. New York State is partnering with the Community Service Society of New York, Walmart, Coca-Cola, Wegmans, HelloFresh, the National Supermarket Association and Stew Leonard's this week to help deliver Thanksgiving meals to feed more than 50,000 people statewide. New Yorkers have faced unprecedented challenges this year and this partnership is a reminder that we look out for one another.

Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": University of Iowa professor Elizabeth Pearce is helping students staying on campus enjoy Thanksgiving even while they are isolating. Pearce sent an email to her class offering a home-made meal cooked by her and her children on Thanksgiving to any student who wanted one, which she will then deliver to the students' homes and dorms. One of her students shared the generous offer on social media, where it went viral. The general reaction? "This is what Thanksgiving is all about."

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