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Cuomo: WNY region has the highest COVID-19 percent positive rate in NY

As of Sunday, April 4, the Western New York region had a percent positive rate of 4.7 percent.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon, discussing the latest COVID-19 data across New York State.

According to the governor, the Western New York region currently has the highest seven-day average percentage of positive test results in New York State. As of Sunday, the region had a percent positive rate of 4.7 percent, which is up from 4.44 percent on Saturday.

The Western New York region includes Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and Allegany counties. 

Cuomo noted that Long Island and New York City are both reporting lower percent positive rates than Western New York, saying he believes it has to do with the "behavior of a community." The governor stresses that the pandemic is not over, adding that people need to continue to wear masks, social distance and wash their hands.

"When it comes to COVID, it's undeniable that the behavior of a community makes the difference, and that means wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands. Some people will say they're tired of COVID, the weather's warm and the death numbers are down, but the community that accepts that philosophy first will have a higher transmission rate. We all understand COVID fatigue, but the pandemic is not over," Governor Cuomo said. 

"There are still variants and you can still get sick, and yes people are vaccinated, but not enough of them. You're seeing communities where we did have problems and implemented significant public education to address them, but more importantly, the people knew in their community they had an issue. They saw people going to the hospital, and they responded. But people are now relaxing, and as people relax with COVID it's a problem. This is a formidable enemy. You put your hands down at your side, you think it's over, the enemy attacks. And that literally is community by community."

The Western New York region also continues to see an increase in the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19. As of Sunday, 240 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Western New York region; an increase of seven from the day prior. The number of people hospitalized in the region equates to .02 percent of the region's population.  

At this time, 37 percent of hospital beds would be available in the region within seven days under a "surge plan."

Statewide, 150,225 total tests were reported to New York State on Sunday. Of those tests, 6,583 came back positive for a percent positive rate of 4.38 percent. Currently, the statewide seven-day average percent positive rate is a little lower at 3.57 percent. 

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations across New York State increased Sunday, to 4,434. That number is up 61 from the day prior. Of those hospitalized, 906 were in the ICU, and 577 of which required intubation.

The state reports that 57 New Yorkers died from the virus on Sunday, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in New York State to 40,813.