Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday threatened to impose restrictions to control the coronavirus pandemic if New York State’s positivity rate continues to rise.
Speaking in Western New York, a region with some of the state’s highest rates, Hochul said the ways to avoid restrictions include vaccination and booster shots.
“At some point, if the numbers don’t start on a downward trend, we’re going to have to talk about larger protocols, which we all know are available to us. They’re all available to us,” she said. “So this is the warning. The warning is going out loud and clear today, and I truly hope that the community at large will listen to this, because it doesn’t have to be this way.”
Hochul, who spoke in Buffalo, didn’t say which protocols she had in mind. Last year, the state limited public gatherings, imposed masking mandates and set capacity caps for places of assembly such at businesses, concerts, houses of worship and markets. The restrictions were lifted as vaccines became available and the positivity rates dropped.
The governor said that restrictions would be focused on particular regions, rather than a blanket statewide policy.
“There are options on the table. There are a lot more options. But I believe the best option is for people to realize the role that each and every one them play in allowing us to say we are liberated from this pandemic once and for all,” she said.
On Long Island, the testing-positivity rate, averaged over seven days, has trended upward: it was 3.03% on Friday, 3.12% on Saturday and 3.33% on Sunday.
For Western New York, the positivity rate averaged over seven days stood at 7.70% on Friday, 8.04% on Saturday and 8.19% on Sunday.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate was about 3.30% as of Sunday.
“I’m not happy about this at all. Infection rates are high. Our vaccination rates should be higher. I mean, there’s no reason why we’re not at 100%. There’s no reason,” she said.
Hochul also again urged boosters for anyone who feels they live in a place where they’re at particular risk of infection.
She especially stressed them for those ages 65 and older, the age group at most risk for the worst effects of coronavirus. She said 47% of those in that group have had a booster in the state.
“We have to make sure that they’re getting boosters. Let’s get those booster numbers up,” she said.
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