Most of us are aware of the danger of large, indoor gatherings when it comes to COVID. They are where super-spreading happens. But viral spread is not limited to large group settings. I want to stress that small, indoor gatherings also pose a very serious risk. Small gatherings are a significant source of spread.
As COVID cases rise, we recommend limiting the size of any indoor gatherings you host or attend. Thanksgiving dinners can be celebrated most safely if you limit the group to only your immediate household. If you are going to spend time with people outside of your household, there are steps you can take to mitigate risk: Be outside as much as possible. If indoors, wear a mask at all times that it is possible to do so. Open windows to increase ventilation if you can. Keep six feet or more of distance and limit the amount of time you spend at indoor gatherings. COVID spreads among strangers but it also spreads among friends. As the numbers continue to rise we must all double down and take this surge very seriously.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: The Coronavirus newsletter will not publish tomorrow, Wednesday, November 11, in recognition of Veterans Day. It will resume on Thursday, November 12.
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. The statewide positivity rate rose above three percent yesterday. In the micro-cluster focus areas, the positivity rate was 5.59 percent. Excluding these areas, it was 2.56 percent. Of the 128,036 tests reported yesterday, 3,965, or 3.09 percent, were positive. Total hospitalizations were at 1,548. Sadly, we lost 32 New Yorkers to the virus.
2. The State's investment in New York-based medical suppliers is already yielding results. When the Trudeau Institute and Adirondack Health wanted to expand rapid testing in the North Country, they had trouble getting the supplies and equipment they needed. So the State connected them with Rheonix, an Ithaca-based manufacturer that Empire State Development has invested in. Thanks to this collaboration, the Trudeau Institute and Adirondack Health opened a brand-new lab in Saranac Lake that will be able to process up to around 160 COVID tests per day and yield fast test results for residents. The State's investment in Rheonix is part of a series of strategic investments in strengthening New York's medical supply chain.
3. As we continue the fight against a surge in COVID-19 cases, we can't let flu season make matters worse. New York has launched a Flu Tracker, which displays daily and weekly flu data and provides timely information about local, regional and statewide flu activity. Take a look—and please get a flu shot if you haven't already.
4. In response to rising infection rates in the region, Syracuse and Albany Universities will switch to remote learning. The University of Albany switched to online learning today and Syracuse will switch next week. Yesterday, the State announced a Yellow Zone in Onondaga County, placing pandemic-related restrictions on the Syracuse area.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": On the eve of her 30th birthday, Ariel Cordova-Rojas came across an injured swan while biking through the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge last week. With the ranger station closed, Ariel, a former employee of the Wild Bird Fund, took quick action to help the bird and used the New York City subway as her ambulance. Ariel and the swan rode the train up to Nostrand Ave. in Brooklyn, where they met two Wild Bird Fund employees and brought the swan to the nonprofit's clinic in the Upper West Side. The bird is now receiving care thanks to Ariel's intervention.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo