State Health Commissioner has breakthrough COVID-19 case, Hochul gives other updates

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Hochul Monday held a COVID-19 update briefing.

The New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett received a positive result on a COVID-19 rapid test and was not present at the meeting. Hochul said she was vaccinated and boosted, so it is a breakthrough case.

Hochul urged New Yorkers to get vaccinated and boosted as the state saw another record number of positive COVID-19 test results — 23,391 — on Sunday. Statewide, COVID-19 cases have quadrupled in one week.

While the Finger Lakes region had been leading the state in numbers of new cases, it now has the third-lowest seven-day average of cases per 100,000 people at 56.51, with only Western New York and North Country lower at 55.63 and 56.33, respectively. Click here for the latest numbers for Monroe County.

Hochul’s administration called on the Federal Government to once again invoke the Defense Production Act so that COVID-19 testing production can be ramped up.

As part of the push to increase testing, the state is opening up seven new testing sites, including one in Orleans County and one in Steuben County.

The state is also getting 10 million more free at-home tests, and Hochul said 5 million of them will be here before the end of the year, with the other half arriving in January.

She said 2 million will go to school districts, 1 million will go to county emergency managers, 1.6 million will be going to New York City and 400,000 will go to state vaccine sites.

The state is also planning on making it possible for New Yorkers to have PCR tests sent to their homes for them to complete, rather than having to go to a physical testing site, if they wish.

Commissioner of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Jackie Bray described how it would work.

"You swab yourself, you put them [the swabs] back in a pre-paid envelope and you get your results within 48 hours," Bray said. "We’re finalizing a launch date for this portal and we’ll have those details at the end of this week."

Hochul said that the state will provide help and spot-checks to counties that need it to enforce her mask mandate. She says the state will be distributing 6 million masks to county leaders, who will then distibute them.

You can watch the full breifing in the video in the palyer below (mobile users, click here):