N.Y. COVID positivity rate up amid variant concerns

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo provides a COVID-19 update on June 23, 2021. Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo/TNS

NEW YORK — New York’s coronavirus positivity rate has ticked up slightly over the past few weeks, health officials reported Monday amid heightened concern about the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 taking hold in the state.

According to data from the State Department of Health, 0.76% of coronavirus tests administered Sunday came back positive. That’s the highest such rate in at least a month and comes as some local officials are troubled by the delta variant accounting for a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases.

Manhattan Councilman Mark Levin, who chairs the Council’s Health Committee, noted last week that 44.4% of New York City’s COVID-19 cases are attributable to the delta strain, which was first detected in India last year and has proven far more contagious than other versions of the virus.

“We need to take this seriously. If you are unvaccinated, the time to get your shot is NOW,” Levin tweeted.

Despite the positivity rate increase, most other coronavirus statistics in New York are trending in the right direction.

Only two coronavirus deaths were reported statewide Monday, and the number of New Yorkers hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped to 330.

Another 13,225 coronavirus vaccine doses were injected during the latest reporting window, according to the Health Department data, meaning 72.6% of adult New Yorkers have now received at least one shot.

“We’re working to beat back COVID-19 on all fronts, and with more New Yorkers getting vaccinated every day, our future looks bright,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

With pandemic restrictions like face mask mandates and capacity limits easing across the country, public health experts stress that vaccinations are tantamount to defeating COVID-19, especially as mutations like the Delta variant continue to emerge.

The three vaccines authorized in the U.S. — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — have proven effective in protecting against the Delta variant, according to researchers, though some studies suggest the level of protection is slightly lower than against more common COVID-19 strains.

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Tribune Wire

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