The Hudson Valley now has the state's highest infection rate as New York has seen its seven-day COVID-19 positivity rate drop for 41 straight days, recording its lowest mark since Monday, Nov. 23.
New York continues to recover from the post-holiday surge, as the statewide positivity rate dipped down to 3.61 percent as the state sees a drop in new cases and hospitalizations.
In the Hudson Valley, the infection rate has dropped from 4.47 percent on Monday, Feb. 15 down to 4.40 percent on Wednesday, Feb. 17, the highest in the state ahead of Long Island (4.39) and New York City (4.28 percent).
"New Yorkers fought through the holiday surge of COVID-19 and came out on the other side, and now that the numbers are decreasing we're able to loosen the valve and increase economic activity," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
"We're in a footrace between ongoing new infections and our ability to vaccinate as many New Yorkers as possible, and although we have vaccine distribution sites at the ready throughout the state, we're limited by available supply."
As of Thursday, Feb. 18, there were 669 COVID-19 patients hospitalized on Long Island, representing 0.03 percent of the region's population. The state was also reporting 417 of the region's 674 ICU beds as occupied by COVID-19 patients, leaving 38 percent available in case of another surge of the virus.
If the Hudson Valley - or any of the state's nine other regions - finds itself in danger of hitting its 90 percent hospital capacity rate within three weeks, Cuomo has vowed to shut down the entire region.
A breakdown of new cases in each of the Hudson Valley's seven counties is as follows:
- Westchester: 421 new (103,019 total);
- Orange County: 175 (35,210);
- Rockland: 112 (37,200);
- Dutchess: 91 (21,222);
- Putnam: 38 (8,024);
- Ulster County: 35 (9,604);
- Sullivan: 20 (4,553);
- Total: 892 (218,832).
New deaths were also reported in:
- Westchester: 6 (2,041 total);
- Dutchess: 2 (400);
- Orange: 2 (622);
- Rockland: 1 (675);
- Putnam: 1 (85);
- Ulster: 0 (224);
- Sullivan: 0 (58).
- Total: 12 (4,105).
"New Yorkers have already had huge burdens to bear, and we're getting to the light at the end of the tunnel, but we need everyone to double down on the behaviors that make such a difference combatting this pandemic," Cuomo added. "Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay socially distanced, and be safe."
There were 215,731 COVID-19 tests administered in New York on Feb. 17, according to Cuomo, resulting in 6,434 new cases for a 3.15 percent positive infection rate.
One hundred and forty COVID-19 patients were discharged from New York hospitals, as the total being treated dropped to 6,434 still being treated statewide, down by more than 800 a week ago. There are 1,258 patients in ICU, and 863 are currently intubated.
There were 114 new COVID-19-related deaths reported in the past 24 hours.
Statewide, a total of 1,548,979 positive COVID-19 cases have been confirmed out of 35.5 million tests that have been administered. There have been a total of 37,440 virus-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
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