A month ago, it appeared New York had contained COVID-19. But it hasn't taken long for cases numbers to rise again.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday announced a statewide ad campaign and a $15 million outreach program to encourage more New Yorkers to get vaccinated. The effort comes as nearly 2,000 new cases were reported on Sunday, a 472% increase over the 346 new positive cases on June 26.
Cuomo repeated a statement made by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when he labeled the situation as "a pandemic of the unvaccinated." There have been "breakthrough" cases — individuals who are fully vaccinated testing positive for COVID-19 — but only 0.15% of vaccinated New Yorkers have been infected.
As of Monday, more than two-thirds of New York adults age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. Three-quarters of adults have been given at least one vaccine dose, according to the CDC.
"The vaccines work," Cuomo said. "They work and it's proven in the numbers."
He confirmed that the Delta variant is present in New York. The highly contagious variant has been found in 72.2% of new positive cases across the state. With case numbers increasing in other states, there have been calls for mask mandates to be reinstated.
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But in New York, the state is targeting zip codes where there are a higher number of new positive cases and the vaccination rate is below the statewide average. The $15 million program announced by Cuomo will provide funding to six community organizations to target 117 zip codes, mainly in New York City, in an attempt to increase the vaccination rate. There are some upstate zip codes on the list, but none are in Cayuga County.
"We cannot go through what we went through over the past year," Cuomo said.
In other news:
• The Cayuga County Health Department admitted 13 new COVID-19 cases on Friday and Saturday. The office was closed on Sunday.
The number of active cases in isolation is up to 28, according to the department's latest update. Two COVID-related patients are receiving treatment at Auburn Community Hospital. No new deaths have been reported.
The department also issued a statement Monday night reminding people who are not vaccinated to wear masks in public settings.
• A walk-in vaccination clinic will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Scipio Center Fire House, 3550 Route 34. The three approved vaccines — Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer — will be offered at the clinic. Children ages 12-17 who are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.