Long Island surpassed 900 daily COVID-19 cases in a post-Labor Day holiday weekend jump as the delta variant continued to spread and send virus indicators upward.
Nassau County registered 393 new cases in test results from Wednesday, while Suffolk County had 535, for a total of 928. New York City logged 1,972 new cases, state figures show.
As recently as June, Long Island was registering well under 100 new cases a day, but the delta variant, relaxed antivirus measures, and the refusal of many people to get vaccinated is sending the numbers up, according to medical experts.
The seven-day average for positivity in testing for the virus inched up again on Long Island, to 4.42%, in state data released Thursday. It was as low as 0.35% on June 29. The statewide average in data released Thursday was 3.35%.
The number of people hospitalized because of the virus grew by 12, to 2,427 statewide.
A total of 19 people in the state died on Wednesday of causes linked to the virus. The fatalities included two in Nassau and one in Suffolk.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said the main solution to the crisis continues to be getting more people vaccinated.
“The vaccine works,” Hochul said in a statement. “It is our strongest weapon in this fight, and millions of New Yorkers have already taken it and are better protected as a result. Getting vaccinated is not only essential to protect your own health, but the best way to protect everyone around you.”
New York City is extending its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, this time to workers at city-contracted child care sites such as prekindergarten and after-school facilities, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
His announcement came hours before President Joe Biden is expected to order all federal employees and contractors to get their shots as he toughens mandates aimed at curbing the spread of the delta variant, which continues to kill thousands of people each week across the country.
The mandate in New York City is expected to cover “many thousands” of workers, de Blasio said at his daily news briefing.
The employees must have at least one dose by Sept. 27 under the rule. It is the same policy, and effective date, in place for public school personnel.
De Blasio said he wouldn’t yet mandate the vaccine for 12- to 17-year-olds. Hochul on Wednesday said she was open to that possibility statewide, though she also said she realized some parents would be anxious about it.
De Blasio also said the city would begin enforcing its indoor vaccine mandate — covering venues such as eateries and concert halls — beginning Sept. 13.
To do so, New York will use 13 city agencies, including personnel from the Department of Environmental Protection, Taxi and Limousine Commission and sheriff’s office. The NYPD is not on the list. The mandate has been in place since last month but violators, such as businesses that fail to check, haven’t been fined.
De Blasio also said the city would pay physicians to refer patients to get vaccinated. It’s a $35 million program, but the mayor didn’t say how much each individual payment would be.
Check back for more on this developing story.
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