New York Capital Brief:

Fauci Approves NY’s ‘Critical Hospital Capacity’ Metric

Governor Cuomo was joined virtually by Dr. Anthony Fauci,  head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to deliver a joint warning to New Yorkers in light of the upcoming holidays.

Referring to an increasing trend in what Governor Cuomo calls the “living room spread,” Dr. Fauci says that “without substantial mitigation, the middle of January will be a very dark time for us.” Fauci, who has recently accepted a position on President-Elect Biden’s coronavirus pandemic response team, says the current 10-person limit to social gatherings “may even be too many.”

Governor Cuomo announced that a region will become a red zone if the region’s seven-day average shows that hospitals are on track to reach 90% capacity within three weeks – known as the critical hospital capacity metric. 

NY Vaccine Planning

New York is expecting to receive its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine as early as this weekend, pending the expected FDA approval. As outlined in New York’s vaccination program plan, high-risk healthcare workers, nursing home staff and residents, and other long-term and congregate care residents and staff will be prioritized to receive the vaccine first.

This first shipment is expected to include 170,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine that will be allocated to 10 regions throughout New York. Within those regions, the State has identified 90 regional centers that can keep the vaccine at the required temperature and they’ll act as distribution centers for that region.  Allocations are based on population size.

NY Lawmakers Call Upon Legislature to Return to Albany

On Thursday, dozens of New York State legislators gathered virtually together for a press conference to call upon the Legislature to return to Albany before January to pass a relief package to support New Yorkers struggling due to the pandemic.

Many legislators are in support of passing revenue raisers, including taxes on the ultra-wealthy. While Governor Cuomo recently acknowledged that tax increases may be necessary, he and Budget Director Rob Mujica continue to warn the legislature that taxing wealthy New Yorkers would not generate enough revenue to solve the multi-billion-dollar deficit and may encourage them to leave the state.

COVID Vaccine FAQs: What You Need to Know

With a potential FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine just weeks away from delivery in New York, the Times Union has compiled a list of frequently asked questions

Click here to view the questions. The list will continue to be updated as more information is made available.

Cuomo: NY Electoral College Expected to Meet in Person

According to Governor Cuomo, New York’s 29 electoral college members are expected to meet in-person at the NYS Capitol building next Monday to officially cast its vote in the Presidential election. Despite extensive restrictions on gatherings amidst COVID concerns, the Governor says the votes cannot be cast virtually because “there’s nothing in the Constitution that says [votes must be cast in person], ‘Unless there is a pandemic.’”

NY’s Travel Advisory Update
Under Executive Order, New York has implemented a COVID testing requirement for those entering/re-entering NY from other states and from countries at Level 2 and 3 COVID-risk.

According to the Order, instead of a mandatory 14-day quarantine, all people* entering NY will have to bring proof of a negative COVID test. The results must be from a test taken within three days of coming into NY from a non-contiguous state.** Upon arrival, all travelers must quarantine for three days. On the fourth day, the traveler must get another test. Once the second test comes back negative, the person is no longer required to quarantine.

*Essential workers will continue to be exempt from this mandate.
**These new rules do not apply to PA, NJ, VA, MA, or CT, although non-essential travel is highly discouraged.