NY Governor calls for stopping small gatherings

New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked people to stop gathering even in small numbers and initiated emergency measures for hospitals in preparation for a fierce surge of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Hospitalizations are climbing statewide. What can you do? Cut out the small gatherings. Now. 65 per cent of all cases are traced to small gatherings. Gov’t can’t enforce who’s in your living room. But you can,” Xinhua news agency quoted the Governor as saying in a tweet on Monday.

“We are laser-focused on ensuring enough hospital capacity as Covid surges. Today @HealthNYGov is initiating emergency hospital measures. Hospitals are directed to identify retired staff, make plans to add 50 per cent bed capacity, confirm they have a 90-day PPE stockpile, and more.

“The next phase of COVID will be tough, but we WILL get through it. Here’s how. We will: Manage hospital capacity; Increase and balance testing; Keep schools open when safe; Stop the spread from small gatherings; Operationalize an equitable and safe vaccination program,” he added.

According to government figures, of the 148,974 Covid-19 tests reported on Sunday in New York state, 6,819 were positive, or 4.57 percent of the total, up from 4.27 per cent a day earlier.

The rate topped 4 per cent on November 28 for the first time since May.

The Covid-19 test positivity rate in the focus areas under the state’s micro-cluster strategy, where the outbreaks are targeted for their severity and potential of spread, was 6.22 per cent on Sunday, up from 5.83 per cent the previous day.

This is the first time that the rate has surpassed 6 per cent in months.

“All the experts spoke about what was going to happen when we reach the fall — there’s colder weather, more people are indoors and more people are now travelling,” the Governor was quoted as saying in a statement also issued on Monday.

“While there has been a change in behaviour amongst the majority of people who understand and follow protocols, it’s as critical as ever we continue our work and focus on preparing this state, and its residents, for winter.”

In its latest update, the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University reported 34,567 coronavirus deaths in New York state, the worst in the country.

The state has so far reported more than 653,000 confirmed cases.