New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday thathospitalizations in the state are up 128% in three weeks — from 1,253 earlier this month to 2,856 — and he urged "serious caution" this Thanksgiving.
"By the current rate of increase in COVID, we're gonna see a major spike," Cuomo said Tuesday at a press conference.
If the upcoming holiday season, spanning from Thanksgiving through the new year, increases the current case rate by only 20%, the state will see a 12% positivity rate by early January. "Today we have 2.9% positivity — we go to 12% positivity. That's a problem," he said.
"This holiday season, we have to be smarter and different than we've handled past holiday seasons, because it's not a normal holiday season," Cuomo said.
He noted that the state allows for celebrations with no more than 10 people, and urged people to wear masks.
"This is not a normal Thanksgiving," Cuomo said. "It was not a normal summer. It was not a normal Labor Day. It was not a normal Memorial Day. It was not a normal school year. Nothing is normal, because it's not normal."
Cuomo spoke after announcing updated virus micro-cluster zones across the state on Monday and saying an emergency facility will open on Staten Island for COVID-19 patients. The facility at South Beach Psychiatric Center is opening at the request of hospitals in the area as an increasing number of Staten Island residents are being admitted amid a virus surge.
The governor said virus micro-cluster zones were updated to establish some areas, including Upper Manhattan, as yellow zones, and move others from yellow to orange.
Yellow means restaurants must close at 10 p.m. An orange zone means high risk, so non-essential businesses close. Dining is outdoor only and mass gatherings are limited to 10 people.
It's possible some areas on Staten Island could even move into a red zone, which means essential businesses only.