NEW YORK — The total number of hospitalizations for the novel coronavirus and related deaths in New York fell to their lowest levels in more than a week, adding to evidence that the hardest-hit state was controlling its spread, according to comments from Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday.
The governor also extended an order closing businesses and schools by two weeks until at least May 15 in coordination with other states in the region, and added details to mask requirements, saying New York residents should wear them on buses, taxis and trains.
The governor said that a total of 17,735 people were hospitalized across the state because of COVID-19 according to a report from Reuters, down from 18,335 a day earlier and the lowest since April 6. Incubations and admissions to intensive care units also declined.
“The good news is it means we can control the virus. We can control the spread,” Cuomo said in a daily briefing. “And we did not know for sure that we could do that.”
As of Thursday afternoon more than 11,000 deaths had been recorded in New York State attributed to the virus, with more than 8,000 of them occurring in New York City and more than 1,200 in nearby Nassau County, according to a running tally from the New York Times.
The death and hospitalization toll was still significant, according to Cuomo. On Wednesday, deaths declined to 606, the lowest daily count in more than a week, and about 2,000 infected people were newly admitted to hospitals.
“That is still continuing at a really, really tragic rate,” Cuomo said of the death tally, adding that there were 29 fatalities at nursing homes, which he dubbed “ground zero” in the fight against the virus.
The infection rate had dropped to 0.9 across the state, however, meaning one infected person was causing less than one new infection.
The improvement has been so marked that Cuomo said New York would send 100 ventilators to New Jersey, a day after pledging to send 100 to Michigan and 50 to Maryland. Just a few weeks ago the governor was gravely concerned about a shortage of the machines, which are used for patients with life-threatening COVID-19 conditions.
Cuomo has formed a pact with governors in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island to coordinate the reopening of their economies, saying the earliest it would happen is May 15.
“One month is a long time,” Cuomo said “What happens after that, I don’t know — we will see, depending on what the data says.”