As we see hospitalizations climb, remember that what we do collectively influences what happens. New Yorkers can stop a shutdown, New Yorkers can save lives. It depends on what we do. Right now we need to manage the hospitals, administer the vaccine and slow the spread.
With a major winter storm hitting large swaths of the state today, I encourage New Yorkers to stay safe in more ways than one. Please exercise caution, prepare for snow accumulation and keep off the roads unless absolutely necessary.
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. New York launched a new website about the COVID-19 vaccine with everything you need to know. It provides New Yorkers with a one-stop location for accurate and up to date information on the vaccine, safety, distribution priorities and more. On the site, New Yorkers can find general information about the vaccine, a detailed Frequently Asked Questions section that provides facts about the vaccine's safety and efficacy, and other questions you may have.
2. The State has identified Regional Vaccination Hubs to develop vaccination networks ahead of Phase 2. These hubs will be led by local hospital systems and will work with community leaders to develop vaccination networks, which will guide vaccination administration for the second phase. Under the state's plan, the second phase of administrations will focus on essential workers and individuals in the general public who are most at risk.
3. Total COVID hospitalizations climbed to 6,097. Of the 160,947 tests reported yesterday, 9,998, or 6.21 percent, were positive. There were 1,098 patients in ICU yesterday, up 33 from the previous day. Of them, 611 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 95 New Yorkers to the virus.
4. New York State health insurers will be instructed to cover COVID-19 vaccinations. The New York State Department of Financial Services issued a letter to New York-regulated health insurers directing them to immediately cover, without cost-sharing, approved COVID-19 immunizations and administrations. No New Yorker will have to pay a penny to get the vaccine.
5. The State has received 87,750 total doses so far. Yesterday, NYS received 77,025 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. An additional 80,000 Pfizer vaccine doses will arrive in the coming days to start the vaccination program for residents and staff at nursing homes.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": Michelle Truxel of Dewitt, NY, is spreading holiday cheer to cats and dogs that live in shelters. As part of an effort she has dubbed "Santa Paws," Truxel collects toys and treats for shelter animals to enjoy on Christmas morning. Recently, she partnered with the Central New York SPCA to help provide a count of how many cats and dogs will be in the shelter around the holidays. To learn more about the animals at the CNY SPCA shelter or donate, click here. Read more about Santa Paws here.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo