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Cuomo: Gyms, salons ‘not the problem’ state expected

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday credited gyms and salons with effectively managing their COVID-19 reopening, saying those businesses have done a better than expected job limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

At a media briefing where he announced the closure of New York City restaurants to indoor dining, the governor shared data showing only about .2% of cases came from those two industries.

“Gyms and salons are not the problem they were expected to be,” Mr. Cuomo said.

The newly released contact tracing data shows nearly three quarters of all cases have come from social gatherings, 7.8% were from health care delivery, 2% percent from higher education students, 1.5% from education employees and 1.43% from restaurants and bars. Travel, sports and public sector employee like police, fire and EMS were the only other categories at 1% or more.

Despite the growing number of cases among students and educators, the governor said he still believes schools are safer than the general community.

Mr. Cuomo said that New Yorkers who test positive for the coronavirus are on average infecting 1.3 other people, a statistic he said he’s concerned with.

“This is a problematic situation,” he said.

The positivity rate for the Long Island region is now 5.65%, the governor said, above the statewide average of 4.98%. Hospitalizations on Long Island are at 846, or .03%.

Mr. Cuomo announced Friday that hospitals will be allowed to stop elective surgeries at their own discretion in order to keep hospitalization rates down. That move would give some flexibility from a mandate to add 25% capacity by allowing a hospital to do one or the other.

The governor said hospitals have improved treatment of the virus to such an extent the average stay is now five days for a COVID-19 patient, down from 11 earlier in the pandemic.

On Monday, Mr. Cuomo is expected to give an update on micro-cluster zones, including the addition of new zones. Riverhead hamlet has been a yellow zone since Nov. 23 and local data suggests it should have progressed to an orange zone status. The governor gave no additional information about any specific zones Friday.

Additionally, Mr. Cuomo said New York State expects to receive 346,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine when it is expected to begin distribution Dec. 21. Distribution of the initial doses of a Pfizer vaccine being sent to nursing homes will begin Dec. 15, state health officials said Thursday. It received approval from aa state panel on Thursday.