Aug 14, 2020
New York State is investing in innovative methods to detect and control any new Coronavirus outbreaks. Today, we are launching a pilot program to detect the presence of COVID-19 in wastewater. In doing so, we will have an early indicator system to detect virus spread in communities. Wastewater testing has been identified by top scientists and researchers as a cost-effective way to monitor for outbreaks of COVID-19 around the world.
The State will provide $500,000 to support a wastewater sampling project in Onondaga County and start sample collection in Albany, Newburgh and Buffalo. This new initiative will complement our leading testing program, which is now up to 87,000 tests a day (3-day average) and that provides a daily snapshot of the estimated infection rate of the virus by region across the state. We know that when we follow the science we win the fight against this virus. The more data we have, and the more points of detection, the better able we are to stop the spread.
1. New York City museums and cultural institutions can reopen starting Monday, August 24. Museums, aquariums, and other low-risk indoor arts and cultural institutions can open at 25% capacity. Timed ticketing will be required with pre-set, staggered entry, along with strict enforcement of face coverings, social distancing, controlled traffic flow to avoid crowding, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.
2. Bowling alleys throughout New York will be allowed to reopen starting Monday with strict safety protocols. Bowling alleys will be able to operate at a 50 percent occupancy, and face coverings and social distancing will be required at all times. Every other lane must be closed and patrons need to stay with the party at their assigned lane. Additionally, thorough cleaning and disinfection of shared or rented equipment between each use will be required. Read more here.
3. New York will dispatch mobile testing teams to farms in rural counties across New York. The State's contact tracing program has identified several new clusters at farms linked to seasonal workers. In addition to sending mobile testing teams, the Department of Health and Department of Agriculture & Markets will help provide housing for farm workers who test positive and need to be isolated.
4. The total number of COVID hospitalizations continues to remain low. Yesterday, there were 554 hospitalizations, a slight drop from the previous day. Of the 85,455 tests reported yesterday, 727 were positive (0.85%). Sadly, we lost 4 New Yorkers to the virus.