Latest coronavirus updates in New York: Monday, February 22, 2021


NEW YORK — Find the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic in New York state and New York City, including data on positive cases and other indicators, and information from local officials.

2:45 p.m.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a phone briefing with updates on the coronavirus pandemic. Listen live below or click here.
Daily indicators

  • 142,019 tests reported Sunday
  • 6,146 positive tests
  • 4.3% one-day positivity rate Sunday
  • 3.5% statewide positivity rate over a rolling seven-day average
  • 4.4% New York City positivity rate over a rolling seven-day average
  • 4.3% Long Island positivity rate over a rolling seven-day average
  • 5,804 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide
  • 89 new deaths reported Sunday

Vaccine updates

  • As of Monday afternoon, about 3.75 million doses administered statewide.
  • “We had serious weather delays,” Cuomo said.
  • The good news, the governor said, is that most of the areas where deliveries were delayed should have received their vaccine shipments Monday.

Reopening updates

  • Movie theaters in New York City can reopen on March 5 at 25% capacity and with no more than 50 people per screen. Masks, social distancing and other safety protocols must be in place.
    • New York City will follow the same guidance that was issued for the rest of the state in October, including proper ventilation systems.
    • There is no testing requirement for reopening.
    • Currently, movie theater workers are not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The state is looking to expand eligibility.
  • Weddings and catered events can expand to 50% capacity on March 15.
  • On billiards and pool halls, Cuomo said the state is coming up with reopening guidelines that include 50% capacity and other safety protocols. No date for reopening was provided.

Schools update

  • The state is asking school districts to report how many of their teachers have been vaccinated and how many teachers are holding class in person.
  • Districts will be required to report this data to the state on a weekly basis.

Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker on nursing home visitation

  • Focus on county rate of virus transmission.
  • Nursing homes in counties with less than 5% virus transmission can open visitation without any testing requirement.
  • Nursing homes in counties with virus transmission between 5% and 10% will require proof of testing within 72 hours of a visit.
  • No visitation is allowed in counties with over 10% virus transmission except for compassionate care.
  • The new rules will go into effect on Friday.

11:30 a.m.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared the latest on a new Brooklyn vaccination megasite. Watch here or in video below.

Medgar Evers College mass vaccination site

  • Opens Wednesday, Feb. 24
  • Largest vaccination site in state of New York to date.
  • Hardest-hit Brooklyn communities get priority for vaccine appointments in first week.
    • After this, the site will be open to all Brooklyn residents.
  • The MTA is setting up special bus routes to help get Brookynites to the vaccine site.

10 a.m.
Mayor de Blasio shared the latest on COVID-19 in NYC. Watch in video below or click here.

Vaccines in NYC

  • 1,527,527 doses administered
  • Empire Outlets vaccine site opens in Staten Island

Recovery for us all

  • JFK Jobs
    • JFK construction will drive recovery
    • Creating 20,000 jobs
    • By 30% M/WBE contractors
    • $10-15 billion in infrastructure investment
  • Queens Borough President Donovan Richard: Queens is a gateway, with people coming through the airports. These are not going to be just any jobs, but good jobs.
  • COVID-19 recovery: NYC School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo named NYC COVID recovery czar
    • “We will recover quickly and fairly,” she said.
    • “We never gave up. New Yorkers never gave up. We rebuilt, and we did it the right way.”

Daily indicators

  • COVID Hospitalizations: 252 (61% positivity rate)
  • Hospitalization rate per 100,000, 7-day average (NYS): 4.09
  • New reported COVID-19 cases on 7-day average (including probable cases): 3,116
  • 7-day rolling average: 7.20%


  • Vaccine and vaccine supply. Where are we in terms of confidence there won’t be more disruptions in shipments and how confident are we that the 5 million goal will happen?
    • We have more and more capacity all the time. We have finally received last week’s shipment. We need the supply to be consistent.
    • Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi: We anticipate shipments from last week to come through Wednesday plus additional vaccines by the end of the week.
    • Expect # of vaccines to moderately increase based on what federal colleagues are telling us.
  • Governor and ongoing nursing home controversy. Have you spoke with the governor since Friday? Do you accept his explanation that there is no scandal, there is no void.?
    • Have not spoken to him and don’t accept his explanation. Lives were lost and we need to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
  • Governor says the city must pass a public safety reform by April 1, he’s publicly mused a list of problems NYC is facing, likely a swipe at BDB — any comment?
    • We’ve done a lot in the past seven years. And a host of major reforms are coming now, which we’ll get done by the end of March. This city is coming back strong by the end of 2021.
  • Mentioning defense production act, Variants— why not list them daily? And any indication of what we’ve done in NYC?
    • Do not see pharmaceutical companies stepping up, but where’s the rest of the vast majority of the pharmaceutical industry. We have a crisis that will hopefully turn.
    • Variants: We are constantly watching for the presence in this city — we still have a lot of evidence that the vaccines work across the board, regardless of variants. It doesn’t change what we do know — we’re racing against time to get people vaccinated.
    • Dr. Jay Varma: Everything we’re doing right now is what we’ve been pushing for.
  • Could health officials talk about how long the vaccine actually lasts? (in the person)
    • Dr. Mitchell Katz: We cannot answer on the long-term ability of the vaccine because we haven’t had it for a long time. Not a single person who has received the vaccine has died of COVID. Only a few people who have gotten the vaccine have required hospitalization. For how long? We don’t know, but we have confidence that people are highly protected. May be a booster required in time, but uncertain
  • What Cleaning protocols will be issued? And what concerns do you have if more people don’t want the vaccine?
    • It’s clear a lot of people want the vaccine. Each agency will be required to ensure safety on employees/people are safe. We have protocols that work.
  • Recovery czar role: What kind of things will be done, who has done it before?
    • The transition is well ahead. Plan is create strong recovery for new administration to pick up and move ahead.
  • How would you describe recovery planning now?
    • Concept for 2020 was to defeat the virus and continue recovery.
  • Vaccine effort was pushed back due to shipment delays. How many appointments were pushed back and rescheduled due to this?
    • Dr. Chokshi: With respect to health dept. Sites, we had second-dose appointments honored. We didn’t have to reschedule any first-dose appointments because we wait until we have the vaccine in hand to schedule appointments. We would’ve liked to have more supply.
  • Goals of 5 million, there’s still hesitancy — how do we ramp up education that people need to have about the vaccine effort?
    • There are millions who want the vaccine right now. That’s over 4 million people. Beyond that, there are people who want evidence on the vaccine, we’re getting evidence everyday. We’re going to constantly reach out, but we need the supply to create the momentum.
  • Do you have the body count of people who can work on the outreach efforts?
    • Those who encouraged people to get tested are also working to get people educated on vaccines. We would welcome the help. We’ll come back with an update on how people can help.
  • Why’d it take 11 months to get a reopening czar?
    • We were focused on getting the virus to a better place. Now, to bring all the strands together, that’s what we have the czar for.
  • On the city’s response to mental health: You promised to review the mental health apparatus — have you identified neighborhoods where you hope to have mental health professionals outreach rather than police etc.
    • We’ll talk about those neighborhoods soon. In the course of this and next year, it’ll move forward to a citywide approach. There was a review after the Chinatown incident.
  • Why don’t we know how many off-duty officers were involved in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6?
    • I’m going to check again since there’s been ongoing investigation.

Happening today:
After last week’s winter storms delayed 100,000 vaccine doses, New York City is expected to receive thousands as appointments are rescheduled. Read more here.

The latest official numbers:
As of Monday, there were 1,584,931 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March and 37,941 confirmed fatalities, according to the state Department of Health.

COVID-19 timeline: How novel coronavirus spread

Tips to protect yourself and others amid coronavirus outbreaks

The New York state coronavirus hotline is 1-888-364-3065; information is also being posted here

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