NY allocating $30M to prep for conflux of COVID-19 and flu season: Cuomo

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- New York state will provide its counties with $30 million in funding to bolster their COVID-19 contact tracing efforts and help them prepare for flu season, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday. 

While the state reported its lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since March 17 on Wednesday, flu season — which normally starts in October — will present a new set of challenges, Cuomo said in a teleconference with reporters Thursday morning. 

“Come flu season, people will need flu tests. They’ll also want COVID tests," he said. "The symptoms for the flu will look like the symptoms for COVID."

Many of the same labs that process COVID-19 tests will also be responsible for processing flu tests — an increased workload that could affect turnaround time, he noted. The $30 million in funding will allow counties across the state to prepare for both illnesses, he said. 

New York had another “very good day from a COVID point of view” on Thursday, Cuomo said during the teleconference. 

Seven hundred and seventy-seven of the 73,546 COVID-19 tests that came back Wednesday were positive, marking a 1.06 percent positivity rate, he said. 

The state reported 13 new deaths, but hospitalizations fell by 33 to 586, the lowest number since March 17.  Of the 586 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 142 were in intensive care units, and 72 were on ventilators, the lowest numbers since March 16 and March 15, respectively.

The state is still “aggressively enforcing” its travel quarantine, as well as its rules for bars and restaurants, he said. The State Liquor Authority issued violations to 41 New York City-area establishments on Wednesday night, including five in the Bronx, two in Brooklyn, 20 in Manhattan, 11 in Queens and three in Nassau County. 

New York state is not the only place that has seen an increasing infection rate among people in their 20s and 30s due in part to bar and restaurant patronage, Cuomo noted. 

“The World Health Organization has warned about it. States all across the country are dealing with it. Even the president said young people should avoid packed bars,” he said. “So this is an international phenomenon that we’re dealing with, but all COVID is local.”