Sep 23, 2020
Today, the Food and Drug Administration has authorized the individual saliva swab diagnostic test for COVID-19 developed by SUNY Upstate Medical University and Quadrant Biosciences for emergency use. The saliva swab test has been used to conduct testing at all SUNY campuses and this approval allows us to expand the use of the tests statewide. The test will be used as a part of the innovative "pool testing" process, which allows for 10 to 25 samples to be tested for COVID at once. If the entire pool is negative, then all samples are cleared, and if the pool is positive, the samples that make up the batch are individually tested. Pool testing helps labs test more samples more quickly and efficiently.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, it's been clear that testing is one of the most critical tools we have to slow the spread. The more tests performed, the more accurate the infection rate becomes. This saliva swab test is the latest example of New York's relentless focus on testing. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were the first state to receive FDA approval for our COVID-19 test. We will continue to expand testing in every way possible.
Here's what else you need to know tonight:
1. The positive infection rate remains under one percent. Yesterday, there were 490 total hospitalizations. Of the 70,930 tests reported yesterday, 665, or 0.94 percent, were positive. Sadly, we lost five New Yorkers to the virus.
2. The CDC has released new guidelines and an interactive map to help families prepare for Halloween. Now that it is officially fall, Halloween is coming up soon. To help families prepare, the CDC issued new guidance and a color-coded map to help families plan safe activities. And as we draw closer to Halloween, I will give New Yorkers my advice and provide guidance so everyone can make a decision for themselves on whether or not trick-or-treating is something they want to do this year.
3. The Nourish NY program has spent over $15 million to connect New York farms with families in need. So far, the initiative has redirected 19.6 million pounds of dairy products to food banks, as well as approximately 5.9 million pounds of produce. Over 680,000 households have received food sourced from 4,140 farms, which is helping keep businesses and families afloat.
4. The 2020 New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square will be held virtually. The owner of One Times Square has designed the famous Times Square space virtually and built a broadcast app so that everyone, regardless of where they are, can enjoy the iconic ball drop safely. In previous years, as many as one million people have gathered in the Times Square area to celebrate the new year.
Tonight's "Deep Breath Moment": Heart of Dinner is helping end hunger and isolation for Asian-American seniors in New York City by providing culturally sensitive meals paired with thoughtful handwritten notes. With the support of their community of restaurant partners, in-kind donors, volunteer care package delivery drivers, volunteer note-writers and brown bag illustrators, Heart of Dinner founders Yin Chang and Moonlynn Tsai, who own Manhattan's Kopitiam coffee shop, surpassed the first milestone of a 20,000 meal goal and are now working towards their next goal of providing 50,000 collective meals to Asian-American communities throughout Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
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