Tri-State Reaches 1M Case Milestone

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What to Know

  • New York, New Jersey and Connecticut crossed a collective milestone Sunday, reached by only a couple of states, when the tri-state region tallied its one millionth positive coronavirus case
  • Upper Manhattan, Staten Island and parts of Long Island face new restrictions in the coming week based on current projections, Cuomo warned Sunday
  • New Jersey has been facing steeper upticks than New York; Gov. Phil Murphy says the next months will be brutal, but he expects 130,000 doses of Pfizer's vaccine around Christmas if FDA approves use

One million.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut crossed a collective milestone Sunday, reached by only a couple of states (California and Texas), when the tri-state region tallied its one millionth positive coronavirus case.

By a count from each state's coronavirus database, the three states reported a total of 1,003,690 positive test results since the start of the pandemic. New York and New Jersey reported 9,389 new cases on Sunday to bring the total over the one million mark for the first time.

Long lines continued at a number of COVID testing sites in New York City over the weekend, with some experiencing wait times 3-4 hours long. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer waited over four hours to get his rapid test in Queens, he said in a tweet Sunday.

Whether it's concern over the spike in cases in and around the city, or the upcoming holiday, there's been an obvious surge in interest to get tested over the past week.

The milestone total for the region comes as the states' governors bring back measured restrictions to curb the spread, although no recent restriction has been as severe as the lockdown measures triggered back in the spring.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has so far focused on his micro-cluster approach to targeting COVID hotspots within a given region. There have been some action taken on a statewide level, however. For over a week now, dining areas have been ordered to close by 10 p.m. in bars, restaurants and bowling alleys. Gyms must also close at 10 p.m.

Small social gatherings at private homes are the third "great spreader" identified by contract tracing, Cuomo said. Those have since been capped at 10 people.

In terms of the micro-cluster strategy, Cuomo warned on Sunday that a growing number of communities were on track to face tighter restrictions as soon as this week. Parts of Staten Island, for example, which large sections of are already a yellow zone, could turn orange and others red.

Daily Percentage of Positive Tests by New York Region

Gov. Andrew Cuomo breaks the state into 10 regions for testing purposes and tracks positivity rates to identify potential hotspots. Here's the latest tracking data by region and for the five boroughs. For the latest county-level results statewide, click here


"Staten Island is a serious problem," the governor said. "We're running into a hospital capacity issue on Staten Island that we have to be dealing with over these next few days."

Dr. Brahim Ardolic, executive director at Staten Island University Hospital, called conditions stressful for anyone in health care.

"Over the last really two weeks we've seen a dramatic rise in the number of people that are requiring in-patient care in the hospital. This has forced us to create additional capacity for those patients and to make sure we can care for all our patients," Dr. Ardolic said.

Upper Manhattan as well as parts of Suffolk and Nassau County could join the list of communities designated a yellow zone, while parts of Syracuse and Rochester could go orange, Cuomo said.

Beyond the restrictions that could be coming this week, the governor warned of the dire reality that faces New Yorkers after the holidays.

"Between now and January, there will be increased social interaction, and the consequence, I believe, will be an increase in the rate of cases. The only question of how much and how fast is up to you," Cuomo said.

After the closure of public schools in New York City, it appears restaurants and bars are next on the chopping block via Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In his weekly radio segment Friday, de Blasio said he expects it the first week of December, based on the latest numbers and projections. Cuomo says a lockdown by that timeline isn't guaranteed, but will be triggered based on what the city's positivity rates look like -- which he believes will be heavily influenced by Thanksgiving activity.

"It's fully dependent on what people do. I'm not going to guess and I don't have a crystal ball, except to say be very, very careful," Cuomo said.

Cuomo first sowed the seeds of takeover Wednesday when he announced he would transition the entirety of New York City to a micro-cluster orange zone if the citywide seven-day rate hits 3 percent and stays at 3 percent for 10 straight days. State reporting of that metric differs from city data.

"I believe its confusing and unnecessary, but its also irrelevant," Cuomo said of local government's reporting different numbers from the state. As of Sunday, New York City held at 2.54 percent, by state data -- and has not yet hit the first of what will have to be 10 days of 3 percent or higher.

Under orange zone rules, schools move all-remote, a moot point now for public schools but one that would affect private and charter schools, which are not subject to de Blasio's shutdown. There is a "test out" option, though Cuomo said he would have to devise a new formula for NYC given the sheer student volume. Expect that to be a key component of returning in-person learning at some point.

The state's positivity rate reached 2.74 percent as of Sunday. Hospitalizations across the state rose to 2,562, according to the governor.

The virus positivity rate continues to rise steadily in the tri-state. New Jersey and Connecticut are above 3 percent, and New York is approaching that benchmark. Adam Harding reports.

Heading into the weekend, New Jersey's largest city of Newark was told to prepare for a 10-day stay-at-home advisory starting Nov. 25.

“We are, from Wednesday before Thanksgiving to Dec. 4, going to lock the city down,” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said in a radio appearance on WBGO 88.3 FM’s Newark Today Friday. “We want people to shelter in place. We only want folks to come out for essential purposes. Do not go outside if you don’t have to. Don’t mingle with other people if you don’t have to. Stay (with) your family in your immediate household.”

Baraka’s office didn’t respond to a request for more details Friday, and it wasn’t immediately clear how the city of 280,000 would enforce the new restrictions, particularly for the Thanksgiving holiday. A message was left with the Newark police department.

Baraka recently instituted curfews in three areas of the city and other restrictions on restaurants and nonessential businesses in response to a steep increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the city.

Two weeks ago, Gov. Phil Murphy halted indoor dining between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and last week he lowered the limit on indoor gatherings from 25 people to 10 and urged people to stay home for Thanksgiving.

Copyright NBC New York/Associated Press
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