MSSNY eNews: January 27, 2021 – COVID: Bronx and Long Island Have Highest Positivity


Notes from Governor Cuomo’s Briefing:

COVID-19 Data:
Day 333
– Statewide positivity rate: 5.44%
– 202,661 tests conducted
– 170 deaths
– 8,771 hospitalizations (-60)
– 1,588 ICU patients (+14)
– 1,027 intubations (+21)

Hospitalizations by Region:
Finger Lakes: 662 (0.05%)
Western NY: 426 (0.03%)
Southern Tier: 240 (0.04%)
Mid-Hudson: 1,056 (0.05%)
Central New York: 250 (0.03%)
Mohawk Valley: 240 (0.05%)
Capital Region: 474 (0.04%)
NYC: 3,771 (0.04%)
Long Island: 1,553 (0.05%)
North Country: 99 (0.02%)

Positivity by Region:
Finger Lakes: 4.85%
Western NY: 5.54%
Southern Tier: 2.72%
Mid-Hudson: 6.70%
Central New York: 4.31%
Mohawk Valley: 6.02%
Capital Region: 6.16%
NYC: 5.39%
Long Island: 6.83%
North Country: 6.45%
Manhattan: 3.36%
Bronx: 6.98%
Queens: 5.73%
Staten Island: 5.64%
Brooklyn: 5.54%

COVID-19 General:
– Positivity rate over the holidays went from 2.93% to 12.46%
– Gov says holiday surge is over
– Hospitalizations, positivity rates on the decline statewide
– Red line capacity for hospitals is 15% availability or less

– President Biden: NY to receive 16% more vaccine allocation for the next 3 weeks
– President Biden announced to NGA more FEMA, providing funding to states to perform vaccines ($450 million advance for NY)
– Funding assistance for National Guard
– More federal vaccine purchasing to meet supply shortage (est. 200 million more doses, which will arrive in 6-9 months)

– 96% of dosages received have been administered over the last 6 weeks
– Gov calls on local governments to vaccinate more hospital staff
– Federal LTCF Program: 72% of residents in nursing homes have been vaccinated to date
– 44% of nursing home staff have been vaccinated overall
– All staff will have been offered vaccination by February 7th
– Gov calls for local governments to maintain social equity in vaccine distribution
– State will partner with local governments to open vaccination sites
– For example, Gov is partnering w/NYC to open a site at Yankee Stadium


  • Is the UK variant spreading widely? What is being done to detect variants?

– Zucker: we are looking at 3,000 samples to detect variants
– There are cases of variants in all parts of the state
– Gov: 42 positives for the UK variant in NY

  • How concerned is the Gov on lifting restrictions given the UK strain?

– Gov says the measures are justified but the facts may change
– If experts discover more information about strains, NY will adapt.

NY State of Health Open Enrollment for New Yorkers Extended Through March 31
NY State of Health, the state’s official health plan Marketplace allows consumers to shop for, compare and enroll in quality, affordable health insurance plans. The Marketplace remains the only place where consumers can qualify for financial assistance for coverage. Open enrollment for Qualified Health Plans for 2021 is happening now. As part of New York’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the Open Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers has been extended through March 31, 2021. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, or directly through insurers. Coverage start dates will vary:

  • Enroll by February 15: Coverage starts March 1
  • Enroll March 15: Coverage starts April 1
  • Enroll by March 31: Coverage starts May 1

Extending the Open Enrollment Period to March 31, 2021 helps to align New York with the federal Public Health Emergency which was recently extended to April 20, 2021. This extension allows individuals enrolling in Qualified Health Plan coverage additional time to enroll for coverage in 2021 and means that enrollment remains open for all NY State of Health programs, which is especially important during the ongoing public health emergency. Individuals who are eligible for other NY State of Health programs – Medicaid, Essential Plan and Child Health Plus – can enroll year-round.  As always, New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health online at, by phone at 1-855-355-5777, and by connecting with an assistor for free assistance over the phone.

To request free NY State of Health educational materials to display at your practice, please go here.

For All Enrolled in NYSDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Program Outside NYC
To all providers enrolled in the NYSDOH (not NYCDOHMH) COVID-19 Vaccination Program. These technical instructions for NYSIIS are for non-NYC providers.  This message (and the linked NYSIIS instructions document) repeats, clarifies and expands upon the guidance that was sent out 1/14/21.

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Elective Surgeries Can Resume in New York State
Gov. Andrew Cuomo told a briefing at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center Monday afternoon that Western New York is doing much better in dealing with COVID-19 than it had been. He said that means the ban on elective surgery has been lifted and the state Health Department on Wednesday may ease the restrictions of Orange status for most of the region.

Winter has brought New York’s worst stretch of the coronavirus crisis since May, with at least 4,800 dead from the virus in the past 30 days. But some numbers are improving, including plenty of capacity in regional hospitals.

Doctors have been writing to the governor, pleading with him to lift the ban on elective surgery. With the ban now lifted, hospitals are rushing to get patients prepared for surgery.

The vice president of the Erie County Medical Society said “elective” is a really misleading term. Anesthesiologist Dr. Rose Berkun said delay can make sick patients even sicker.
“If they don’t have that surgery — somebody has a gall bladder issue and delayed by one month or by two months — that becomes an acute issue at some point, where the patient will have a burst gall bladder and get really sick,” Berkun said, “and that can lead to terrible complications and in-patient visits, hospitalization.” (WBFO/NPR Buffalo)

USA Today Network: MSSNY Against Legalizing Marijuana in NY
Among the organizations that have argued against it are the state Parent-Teacher Association, various police organizations and the Medical Society of the State of New York, which represents doctors.

In a joint statement last October, the Medical Society organizations from New York, Delaware, Ohio, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania issued a joint statement urging caution as their respective states consider legalizing the drug, suggesting more research needs to be done about the long-term public health impacts of the decision.

“We appreciate the enormous challenges state policymakers face to address burgeoning budget deficits, but we strongly believe that further detailed research must be undertaken and assessed regarding the effects legalization of cannabis will have on important public health markers, such as emergency department visits and hospitalizations, impaired driving arrests, and the prevalence of psychiatric and addiction disorders,” the statement reads. (USA Today network)

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Mask Stickers Could Help Detect Early COVID-19 Infections
Researchers at the University of California San Diego are developing a color-changing mask sticker to detect early COVID-19 infections.

The sticker is a test strip that sticks to a user’s N95, surgical or cloth mask and is meant to detect SARS-CoV-2 in the wearer’s breath or saliva. After removing their mask, the wearer conducts the test by squeezing the contents of a blister pack onto the test strip, which changes color in the presence of SARS-CoV-2 protein-cleaving molecules. The test works like a home pregnancy test, with a control line on the test strip showing what a positive result looks like, according to the news release.

“Think of this as a surveillance approach, similar to having a smoke detector in your house,” said Jesse Jokerst, PhD, lead principal investigator of the project and nanoengineering professor at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. “This would just sit in the background every day and if it gets triggered, then you know there’s a problem and that’s when you would look into it with more sophisticated testing.”

Researchers anticipate the test strips could be produced for a few cents each, making them affordable for daily surveillance in high-risk settings for infection such as group homes, prisons, and homeless shelters, among others.

Dr. Jokerst is working with researchers from UC San Diego School of Medicine to test the first strips on positive COVID-19 saliva samples before testing them on patients and healthcare workers at Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

To read the full news release, click here.


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CDC Clinical & Epidemiologic Characteristics of Case Reports of Allergic Reactions
A CDC report summarizes the clinical and epidemiologic characteristics of case reports of allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis and nonanaphylaxis allergic reactions, after receipt of the first dose of Moderna COVID-CDC COVID-19 Response Team; Food and Drug Administration. Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 21, 2020–January 10, 2021 MMWR. 2021;70 (Early release).


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