NYS COVID-19 rate of transmission drops below 1

NYS COVID-19 rate of transmission drops below 1

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced that New York State's COVID-19 rate of transmission, or Rt, has dropped below one.   

And Governor Cuomo announced the launch of a new hotline focused on vaccine-related fraud.

Speaking at his daily briefing in Buffalo, Governor Cuomo said an Rt of one or more means that COVID-19 will spread quickly.

He said all elective surgeries can resume in Erie County amid sustained decline in the County's positivity rate and hospitalizations.

The county's positivity has steadily declined for nearly three weeks, going from 8.6 percent on January 7 to 5.2 percent. Hospitalizations have declined from 427 on December 31 to 323. The county's hospital capacity is at 48 percent.

"We predicted that increased social activity would lead to a spike in COVID cases, and that the spike would eventually dissipate, and the ongoing fulfilment of that prediction is good news. The rate of transmission—one of the most important numbers—has now declined below one, meaning the virus is no longer spreading quickly. And when those numbers decrease, you can increase economic activity," Governor Cuomo said. "That decline has extended to Erie County, and we now feel comfortable resuming elective surgeries there and will have more adjustments over the next couple of days. This is good news, but don't get cocky with COVID—this beast has been ahead of us from the beginning and it will require New Yorkers to stay vigilant, wash their hands, wear masks and socially distance to get to the light at the end of the tunnel together."

On Sunday, the state recorded 8,730 patient hospitalizations, 1,522 patients were in the ICU; with 1,005 intubated. The Statewide positivity rate stood at 5.47 percent and a total 167 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in New York State on Sunday.

And Governor Cuomo said New Yorkers who suspect fraud in the vaccine distribution process can now call 833-VAX-SCAM (833-829-7226) toll-free or email the state Department of Health at STOPVAXFRAUD@health.ny.gov

He said Hotline staff will route complaints to the appropriate investigative agencies to ensure New Yorkers are not being taken advantage of as the State works to vaccinate the entire eligible population.

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo said the total week six federal vaccine allocation has been delivered to providers for administration. 

He said as of 1:00 PM Monday, New York's health care distribution sites had received 1,304,050 first doses and already administered 91 percent or 1,180,468 first dose vaccinations and 71 percent of first and second doses. 

Governor Cuomo said delivery of the week seven allocation from the federal government will not begin arriving until the middle of this week.

"The entirety of our week six allocation was delivered to providers yesterday and already New York has administered 91 percent of its first doses" Governor Cuomo said. "Week after week what we find is, demand for the vaccine and our ability to distribute it quickly outpaces the federal supply. This will continue to happen unless we see an increase to our weekly allocation. We must keep up the momentum we've built by vaccinating all eligible New Yorkers while ensuring fair and equitable access to those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we need more vaccine doses in order to do so."