Gov. Cuomo: SUNY, CUNY will require in-person students to be vaccinated

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Finger Lakes surpasses WNY for region with highest average positivity rate

NEW YORK CITY (WROC) — Gov Andrew Cuomo held a briefing Monday to update New Yorkers on the state’s coronavirus response efforts.

New numbers

The governor announced the following COVID-19 data:

  • 110,541 COVID-19 tests reported statewide Sunday
  • 1.43% overall positivity rate
  • 27 new deaths statewide
  • 2,016 hospitalizations
  • 493 in ICU
  • 301 intubated

According to the governor, the Finger Lakes region now has the highest seven-day average positivity rate in New York, for the first time since the holiday surge earlier this year.

The regional average positivity rates, according to the governor’s office, are as follows:

  • Finger Lakes — 2.72%
  • Western New York — 2.43%
  • North Country — 2.02%
  • Mohawk Valley — 1.48%
  • Capital Region — 1.46%
  • Mid-Hudson — 1.43%
  • Long Island — 1.27%
  • New York City — 1.25%
  • Southern Tier — 0.65%

“Were now focused on the places with the highest infection rates and that, right now, is Western New York and the Finger Lakes,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Vaccination

The state’s vaccination progress, as of Monday morning, is as follows:

  • 16,826,409 total doses administered statewide
  • 9,661,944 New Yorkers with at least one dose (60.2% of 18+ population)
  • 8,804,508 New Yorkers fully vaccinated (48.9% of 18+ population)

The governor says the vaccination rate has started to slow down.

“The vaccination rate is now the most important metric to watch,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Why? With all the political garbage and with all the different medical opinions, everybody agrees on one fact: As the vaccine goes up, the positivity rate goes down. They are an inverse. Everybody says it, every country shows it — it’s the one global fact that everybody agrees on. Keep the vaccine going up, the positivity rate will come down. That’s why were so aggressive on vaccine, but the vaccine rate has declined. This is not a New York phenomenon, this is a nationwide phenomenon”

The governor again reiterated the state’s focus for reaching the youthful and the doubtful in terms of vaccination.

“COVID was introduced like young people don’t have to worry about it,” Gov. Cuomo said. “and we enforced that by doing the eligibility by age. The doubtful are the vaccine hesitancy people. The doubtful is a problem unto itself and we need to address both separately.”

The governor also said that the state is lifting the residency requirement for vaccinations.

“We’re waiving the residency requirement for vaccine,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Anyone from out of state can get a vaccine in New York, so if you’re ta tourist and you come to New York, you can get a vaccine.”

SUNY & CUNY

The governor announced Monday that SUNY and CUNY boards will require vaccination for all in-person students combing back in the fall.

“The key to supercharging the vaccination rate: Eliminating excuses, increase access, and communicate the facts,” Gov. Cuomo said.

Local institutions, like the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology, have already announced a vaccine requirement for on-campus learners in the fall semester.

“Let’s make a global statement,” Gov. Cuomo said. “You cannot go back to school in person in September unless you have the vaccine. That will be a major motivation for people going back to school and if you have to get it by September, you might as well get it now.”

The governor said the by September timeline was subject to the FDA elevating the Pfizer vaccine past the current emergency use authorization.

“By September, the federal government would have to do the approval beyond the EUA,” Gov. Cuomo said. “They would have to give it full approval before September. Otherwise, SUNY and CUNY could not mandate if it it doesn’t have the full approval, but we believe they will do that in the near future.”

Reopening

Last week, during his COVID-19 briefing, the governor announced a target date of May 19 for a “major” reopening development, including a lift on capacity restrictions for many businesses and industries, including:

  • Business capacity limits to be replaced with space available to maintain six feet of social distancing on May 19 in New York and New Jersey
  • Outdoor social gathering limit increases to 500 on May 10 in New York; indoor social gathering limit increases to 250 on May 19 in New York
  • Outdoor residential gathering limit is removed and indoor residential gathering limit increases to 50 on May 19 in New York
  • Large-scale indoor venue capacity increases to 30% and large-scale outdoor venue capacity increases to 33% on May 19, proof of vaccination or recent negative test still required in New York

The governor announced Monday that tickets for the Long Island Islanders hockey playoffs games would go on sale Tuesday.

“Tickets will go on sale tomorrow for the playoff games at the Nassau Coliseum,” Gov. Cuomo said. “50% of the tickets will be sold to vaccinated people and the rule will be three feet of distancing, and 50% of sales will be unvaccinated people and six feet of distancing. Everyone wears a mask. My point to business owners, sports, concerts etc. — the more vaccinated people, the higher the capacity.”

Ongoing investigations

When asked about the New York Attorney General’s ongoing investigations into the governor and his administration, he said he had no comment.

“I don’t want to comment on the ongoing review,” Gov. Cuomo said. “I think everybody’s aware of politics in Albany and political realities. You’ve heard one side of the story, and you will at one point here both sides of the story, and you don’t need me to explain to you the context of politics.”

Watch the full press briefing

This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide updates as they become available.

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