It’s not just Westchester and Putnam counties that have had plunging COVID-19 positivity rates, but the entire state of New York.
New York State had the lowest positivity rate in the nation on Wednesday, prompting Gov. Andrew Cuomo to laud its citizens for making it happen.
“We celebrated Memorial Day and it is time to get back to living,” Cuomo said. “What is it that we’ve been doing the last year? We’ve been surviving for the last year.”
The state’s positivity rate dropped to 0.64 percent on the seven-day rolling average, giving it the lowest rate in the United States. The next five lowest states on the weekly average were Massachusetts (0.68 percent), Vermont (0.79), Alaska (0.83), California (0.94) and Connecticut (1.0).
On Wednesday, each one of the state’s 10 regions was under 1 percent, with the Mid Hudson region, which includes Westchester and Putnam, clocking in at 0.4. Westchester had nine new positive cases from 5,137 tests on Wednesday, said County Executive George Latimer, just a 0.18 percent rate. Putnam County was at 0.9 percent, with four positives out of 467 tests.
Latimer said the number of active cases in Westchester has dropped to 402, the lowest total since the early days of the pandemic more than a year ago. The previous low had been 432 active cases in the first week of last August.
“I think it’s pretty clear that the amount of positive spread of this disease now has been dropping dramatically and we’re in, quote unquote, a very good place,” Latimer said. “The percentage is lower than anything we’ve seen before.”
Virus-related hospitalizations in Westchester have dropped to 37, and through Wednesday there had not been a single fatality in four days, he said.
Contributing to the highly encouraging totals is the state’s vaccination rate. Despite that rate noticeably slowing since mid-April, New York has had 9,186,551 people fully vaccinated, 57.3 percent of its 18-and-over population as of Wednesday. In all, 65.5 percent of that population have had at least one dose, meaning that within four weeks the full vaccination rate should rise to at least that percentage.
Cuomo said the state was able to vaccinate 45,883 youngsters between 12 and 17 years old within the last week, which made each recipient eligible for a drawing for a full four-year scholarship to any public college in New York, including room and board, a roughly $100,000 value in today’s dollars.
The first 10 winners of that raffle were announced this week. There will be four more drawings on Wednesdays through July 7, he said.
With COVID-19 under control right now, Cuomo on Wednesday touted the state as a vacation destination this summer, not only for domestic and international travelers but for native New Yorkers as well.
“This is the place you want to visit,” Cuomo said. “This is the one state where whatever you want to do, you can do it in the great state of New York.”
For information on eligibility and vaccination sites, the public may call 1-833-697-4829 or visit https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov