Unfortunately, we expect the virus to continue to spread as winter approaches. To that end, New York State in consultation with health experts is developing a winter plan to respond to the continued threat that COVID-19 poses to our state. The first step is to prioritize areas with the highest hospitalization rates to avoid adding strain to any hospital system. Second, we are looking at the best way to safely keep K-8 schools open, through testing and best practices. Finally, we are working toward operationalizing the vaccine plan for our state.
Tonight we focus on Thanksgiving. I wish all New Yorkers a very happy Thanksgiving and ask you to please celebrate the holiday safely.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Coronavirus Newsletter will not publish tomorrow, Thursday, November 26th, or Friday, November 27th, in recognition of Thanksgiving. It will resume on Monday, November 30th.
Photo of the Day: Don't Be A Turkey — Wear A Mask!
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. Total hospitalizations rose to 2,982. The positivity rate in the micro-cluster focus areas was 5.82 percent. Excluding these areas, it was 3.04 percent. Of the 173,085 tests reported yesterday, 6,265, or 3.62 percent, were positive. Sadly, we lost 41 New Yorkers to the virus.
2. The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade will be aired virtually tomorrow. Although Thanksgiving this year is different, some traditions will still go on — one of those is the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade will be held for a TV audience and will feature the iconic character balloons and musical performances. Instead of having 2,000 balloon handlers, as the parade has had in the past, there will be just 130 — with many utility vehicles being used to help fly the balloons.
3. We cannot underestimate the mental health impact of this pandemic, especially around the holidays. A reminder that New Yorkers can call the State's mental health hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for free emotional support, consultations & referrals to a provider or visit the Office of Mental Health for resources.
4. In the second round of the program, Nourish NY has spent $1.3 million to help New Yorkers in need. So far, 1.8 million pounds of raw milk has been turned into dairy products and distributed by food banks, in addition to 330,000 pounds of produce. Over 980,000 households have received products. Unfortunately, not every New Yorker will have food security this holiday season; New Yorkers can find nearby food banks and food pantries, along with other resources, here.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": Remember the small owl discovered in the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree? The small Saw-whet owl, dubbed Rockefeller, or "Rocky" for short, is now a free bird once again. After being cared for at the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, NY, the young owl was released back into the wild. Watch Rockefeller's release here.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo