Updated: December 03, 2020 10:04 PM
Created: December 03, 2020 03:30 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a press conference Thursday to update New Yorkers on the coronavirus pandemic in the state.
As of Thursday, the COVID-19 positivity rate in COVID-19 focus zones was 5.91%, 4.49% statewide without the focus zones and 4.84% statewide with the focus zones.
As of Tuesday, just under 4,000 New Yorkers were hospitalized. That compares to just under 19,000 during the previous peak in May.
There are just under 6,000 ICU beds in the whole state, 2,144 are available right now and 377 of them are occupied by COVID-19 patients. The percentage of people hospitalized with COVID is down to 19% from 25% in March.
As of Thursday, the Finger Lakes region and Western New York had the worst hospitalization rate per person in the state at .03%.
Gov. Cuomo also announced he is expanding the eligibility requirements for the state's rental assistance program to help more New Yorkers. The application will soon be reopened and more information is expected in the coming days.
He also mentioned that skepticism around the COVID-19 vaccine has him concerned. He said a previous poll showed 50% of Americans said they don't want to get the vaccine, but estimates are that 75% of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to work.
"I want New Yorkers to start to think about it seriously. We're not going to get to the general population for a while," Cuomo said.
He said vaccinations will begin in nursing homes.
He then put a box on the table, and began explaining different measures that are used to maintain the ultra-cold temperature that the vaccine must be stored in.
"One tray can hold up to 195 vials. Each vial, this is a vial, can do five dosages. The package itself can hold five trays. So roughly 5,000 dosages could be in this one box," Cuomo said.
The boxes can only be opened twice per day to keep the vaccines from getting too warm.
Once they're out and temperature-regulated, there is a six-hour window that the vaccine can be given.
Some of the vaccines also require a second dose.
The vials are made by Corning Glass, which is in Steuben County. During the briefing, Cuomo called it a "great New York company."
"This is the weapon that is going to win the war. This is the light at the end of the tunnel. And it's not a short tunnel. We just have to get there," Cuomo said.
He reiterated that he would not ask anyone to take a vaccine that he would not take himself.
On Wednesday, he announced that the first delivery of vaccines could be available to New Yorkers as soon as mid-December.
Watch the full press conference in the video player below (mobile users, click here):
On News10NBC at 11, Berkley Brean will speak with a logistics expert for more information about how distributing the vaccine will work.
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