Gov. Cuomo announces guidance for reopening amusement parks

Around New York State

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided an update on COVID-19 in New York state on a conference call with media Wednesday morning.

On day 354 of the pandemic in New York state the governor provided the following data:

  • 169,963 COVID-19 tests reported Tuesday
  • 3.58% seven-day average positivity rate (6,092 new cases)
  • 109 new COVID-19 deaths statewide
  • 6,574 hospitalized

Wednesday’s marked the 40th straight day of decline for the seven day average positivity rate statewide, and the the lowest since November 28.

The governor said there are now 82 confirmed cases of the United Kingdom variant straight in New York, up 12 from Saturday. He said of those 12 new cases, 11 are from New York City, and another was from Broome County in the Southern Tier.

The governor said as of Wednesday’s conference call, 3.3 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in New York, including approximately 1 million second doses. The governor said 94% of the allocation sent to the state in weeks 1-9 of the vaccine process have been administered. He said President Joe Biden was again increasing the state’s allocation of doses for week 11.

As supply increases, the governor said coordination and fairness are priorities.

“You have a multiplicity of distribution outlets run by federal, state, and local governments,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That is now creating confusion. This was a system set up originally by the Trump administration and it does create confusion. At one point the situation will reverse, I believe, because at one point we’ll have a significant amount of doses, and then you don’t have an availability problem, you don’t have a supply problem. Then the multiplicity of distribution points will actually be a positive, but that’s when you have enough supply. Which experts say could be about the end of June now.”

The governor announced new state-federal pop-up vaccination sites across upstate New York, including in Rochester, Western New York, Central New York, and the Capital Region. The governor said once operational, these sites will administer 1,000 doses per day.

“Each site will do 1,000 per day, 7,000 a week,” Gov. Cuomo said. “They start on March 3, they get an allocation from the federal government. They’re jointly run between the state and local government, and we’re going to use National Guard personnel to help us do that.”

The governor emphasized equity in regards to vaccinating vulnerable populations.

“I said to the county executives, it is essential that they do a fair distribution: Fair by geography and race,” Gov. Cuomo said. “It is very important that the distribution be fair. This is a precious resource, everybody wants it, there’s not enough. The best you can do is make sure that you are fair. You’re fair among 1a, 1b, 1c, 65-plus. You’re fair geographically, that it’s not just the urban areas or urban areas don’t get more vaccine vs. rural areas. When you look at the demographics that the vaccine rate is fair. We know we have a vaccine hesitancy problem, especially with the Black community.”

The governor announced target dates for indoor and outdoor amusement parks to be able to reopen.

“Beginning March 26, indoor family entertainment centers can reopen,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Department of Health will list the guidelines, but 25% capacity, face covering, social distance, temperature checks, frequent cleaning, and disinfection. Outdoor amusement parks can reopen starting April 9 with 33% capacity, face covering, social distancing, temperature checks, cleaning, disinfection, tickets sold in advance, etc.”

The governor said the New York State Department of Health would soon have more detailed guidance in regards to reopening amusement parks. The governor said the continues to evaluate summer camps.

“As of now, overnight summer camps can plan on reopening,” Gov. Cuomo said. “That doesn’t happen until June and we hope the current trajectory stay until June 1. We’re keeping an eye on these variants of interest, but they can plan on reopening.”

The governor said some vaccine shipments may be delayed due to extreme weather throughout much of the country.

“Some of the delivery of allocation by the federal government may be delayed this way because of storms across the country,” Gov Cuomo said. “We’ll also have potential of storms in New York starting tomorrow lasting into Friday. This is the set of storms moving across the country and the state is acting appropriately.”

In his briefing on Monday, the governor said he takes “total responsibility” for “creating a void in information” about the number of COVID-19 deaths that were linked to nursing homes.

“No excuses,” Gov. Cuomo said during an afternoon press briefing, the first he’s held since a damaging story broke last Thursday concerning his top aide, Melissa DeRosa.

MORE | Lawmakers call for Governor’s emergency powers to be rolled back

In the wake of his administration’s nursing home data controversy, several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for the rollback of the governor’s emergency powers.

Those powers are due to expire on April 30 and lawmakers have options: To extend them, not renew them, or vote to eliminate them sooner.

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