NYS releases results of coronavirus antibody tests

Coronavirus

ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) — The rate of new coronavirus hospitalizations is, yet again, flat, with about 1,300 new patients entering hospitals each day.

Still, the total amount of hospitalizations across New York is dropping, so that means more people are leaving than entering.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday morning that hospitalizations have dropped under 16,000, with 578 less COVID-19 patients hospitalized compared to the previous day.

Most of the COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York are downstate, especially in New York City. On Wednesday morning, Cuomo announced efforts to trace cases of the virus both downstate and upstate. The state will be calling on SUNY and CUNY medical students for assistance in this.

This effort, which will be led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will help officials determine who those who contracted the virus have been in contact with. The federal government is providing $1.3 billion to help New York with the tracing efforts.

With such a big difference in downstate hospitalizations versus upstate, Gov. Cuomo says Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul has been put in charge of coordinating western New York’s response and reopening strategy. Hochul is a native of the region.

Coronavirus-related deaths have remained relatively flat in comparison to previous days. Cuomo announced that 438 more people died between Wednesday and Thursday. 35 of the victims were in nursing homes.

Antibody testing took place in 19 counties this week. These kinds of tests, which are given to people who may have previously been infected, help scientists know more about how the virus is spreading, and who is getting it.

In addition to that, those who get positive results in an antibody test may be able to donate convalescent plasma, which will aid in finding a vaccine.

Of all who were tested at grocery stores and other box stores across the state, 13.9 percent showed they were previously infected with the virus and have since developed antibodies.

This gave New York some new estimates. Approximately 2.7 million people are believed to have been infected with the virus.

So, with roughly 15,500 total deaths, that means about 0.5 percent of those who become infected die. To be more specific, that amount of total deaths does not include people who died outside of a hospital or nursing home.

Here’s where the testing took place:

Of those tested, 52 percent were female and 48 percent were male. 12 percent of females tested positive, while 15.9 percent of males tested positive. All who were tested were at least 18 years old.

Cuomo says that more testing will occur in Latino and African-American communities. Here is the racial breakdown of this week’s antibody tests.

MORE |Antibody testing takes place at two Erie County Wegmans stores

Schools and non-essential businesses are closed through May 15 due to Cuomo’s New York State on PAUSE order, which was extended again on Thursday.

New York is working with other nearby states in its efforts to re-open. If one state eases regulations, like opening bars, but a bordering state does not, Cuomo says this would be problematic.

The issue would be the rush of people traveling to particular places, increasing the potential for the virus to spread state-to-state.

In terms of schools, it’s not clear whether or not they’ll be open before Fall, but decisions could be made by region.

“Schools will not open statewide until we say so,” Cuomo said. “Opening schools is very difficult. I won’t open until schools are disinfected, where they have a protocol to disinfect, enact social distancing…it’s a very big undertaking.”

MORE | President Trump unveils 3-phase plan to reopen economy

If you wish to utilize the state’s emotional support hotline at this time, call 1-844-863-9314.


Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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