Our country is seeing a surge in COVID; there have been almost half a million new confirmed COVID cases in the US in just one week. While the number of new cases per 100,000 residents in New York remains low relative to other states, New York State is not in a hermetically sealed bubble.
COVID is still here and continues to spread in communities in New York, particularly when people do not follow the safety protocols in place to control the virus. We continue to see outbreaks linked to mass gatherings at houses of worship, at weddings and funerals, and other events where too many people gather.
We cannot let our guard down and risk sliding backward in New York. We all must remain vigilant as the weather gets colder and as we are up against "COVID fatigue." Stay NY Smart: Wear a mask, socially distance and follow the public health guidance. It's there to save lives.
Chart of the Day: The statewide test positivity rate (the orange line) remains under 2 percent.
Here's what else you need to know:
1. California has been added to New York's Travel Advisory. Individuals traveling to New York from California must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in NY. Massachusetts meets the criteria for the travel advisory but due to the region's interconnectedness, quarantine is not practically viable. As such, New York highly discourages non-essential travel between Massachusetts and New York to the extent practical. See more info here.
2. The positivity rate in the "micro-cluster" focus areas was 3.65 percent yesterday. The statewide positivity rate excluding these areas was 1.53 percent. Of the 111,618 tests reported yesterday, 1,991, or 1.78 percent, were positive. There were 1,083 total hospitalizations. Sadly, we lost 15 New Yorkers to the virus.
3. SUNY will require on-campus students to test negative for COVID-19 before leaving for Thanksgiving break. That means SUNY's 64 colleges and universities will test about 140,000 people over a 10-day period leading up to Thanksgiving break. Per the policy, colleges in the SUNY system should schedule tests as close as possible to students' departure date. "I want to thank our students for the phenomenal effort during these difficult times as well as SUNY health policy experts for helping us create this guidance that ensures a safe wind down of the fall semester," said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras.
4. The MTA will begin a voluntary COVID-19 screening program for frontline transit employees. Under this new initiative, free COVID testing will be offered at field locations and medical assessment and occupational health services centers to frontline NYC Transit, LIRR, Metro-North and Bridge and Tunnels employees. Up to 2,000 frontline MTA employees will be screened per week under the initial phase of the program. Read more here.
Last night's "Deep Breath Moment": A Pulitzer Prize-winning composer is giving Central Park its own soundtrack. Composer Ellen Reid has written new music for an app called Soundwalk that is intended especially for visitors of Central Park. The app uses GPS to know where you are walking in the Park — and what you hear on your headphones changes depending on the route you take. In this way, the listener becomes a composer too. The music for this immersive auditory experience includes 25 different nature-inspired themes, recorded by members of the New York Philharmonic, among others.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo