Latest coronavirus updates in New York: Thursday, March 18, 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.

11:30 a.m.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo held a briefing with the latest on COVID-19 in New York. Watch here or in video below.

Breaking Updates

  • Gov. Cuomo says the daily COVID numbers now are lower than they were just before the holiday surge.

Daily indicators

  • Overall state positivity: 2.87%
  • Total test results reported: 271,463
  • Statewide deaths: 57
  • Statewide hospitalizations: 4,536 (-88)
  • Statewide ICU patients: 934 (-20)
  • Statewide intubations: 590 (-1)

Vaccinations update

  • 7,121,844 total doses given so far in NY
  • 4,772,029 first doses; 2,482,738 fully vaccinated

COVID restriction updates

  • Sports travel: Starting Monday, March 29, statewide travel for sports and recreational activities will be permitted
  • Outdoor performing arts:
    • Starting April 1: Large outdoor venues of 2,500+ capacity hosting live concerts/shows can reopen at 20% capacity.
    • As COVID rates continue to improve, capacity will increase.
  • Sports venues:
    • Starting April 1, indoor sports venues with 1,500+ capacity, capped at 10%
    • Starting April 1, outdoor sports venues with 2,500+ capacity, capped at 20%
  • Yankees home opener vs. Toronto Blue Jays – April 1
  • Mets home opener vs. Miami Marlins – April 8

10 a.m.

Mayor Bill de Blasio shares the latest on New York City’s COVID-19 response. Watch in video below or click here.

Mental health services in NYC

  • First lady Chirlane McCray: Connection – when needed, we prefer to seek help from those around us.
  • Communities Thrive re-launch: 
    • Free or low-cost mental health support for New Yorkers on communities of color
    • Community sites can tap into H+H tele-mental health system
    • Over 1 million tele-health sessions, including 200K+ tele-mental health sessions
  • Councilmember Peter Koo: Asian Americans are being targeted in attacks. We need to get a handle on mental health in our neighbors before they get worse. 

Open Culture begins

  • ID Studio Theater (Bronx) 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
  • Leimay (Brooklyn) 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • El Museo Del Barrio (Manhattan) 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Apply:

Vaccines in NYC

Daily indicators

  • COVID Hospitalizations:  194 (33% positivity rate)
  • Hospitalization rate per 100,000, 7-day average (NYS): 3.70
  • New reported COVID-19 cases on 7-day average (including probable cases): 2,592
  • 7-day rolling average: 6.42%


  • Gov. Cuomo announced indoor fitness classes/boutique fitness can resume in NYC next week. Was the health dept. Notified in advance, any word from health officials?
    • The state of NY continues to make decisions without contacting local municipalities.
    • The state just doesn’t care. We’re going to do our best to implement this rule safely. Is this done because of data and science or is it political?
    • Dr. Dave Chokshi: We were not consulted on this specific situation. We’ve expressed concerns over this specific sector (getting masks wet, etc.) We will take all appropriate health and safety safeguards to reduce the risk of spread.
  • Do you not have power to prevent them from opening?
    • The state of NY took over control of replacing/lifting restrictions. This is not something the state should’ve done without us. But what they’re doing is legal.
    • Dr. Chokshi: Those who plan to go to these fitness centers/boutiques should just remain cautious.
  • Did you decision to get vaccinated today come after Cuomo got vaccinated?
    • No, it came after the new eligibility groups were implemented (public-facing employees) and wanted to show safety and efficacy of J&J vaccine
  • Mental health/Thrive How is the city’s role in bringing mental health to rise in hate crimes among Asian community
    • When people are dealing with stress or fear, that exacerbates the challenges and people need an outlet to discuss 
  • Has the city reached out to the unions for input in police reform?
    • There were over 100 different meetings as part of the reform effort over months. I’ve talked to the three leaders who have had conversations with union members and leaders.
  • Attacks on Asian Americans — many not being charged as hate crimes. What can police and the city do, if anything?
    • I think we all can do more. It’s a reality we have to overcome. People experience something so horrible and don’t know where to turn. Please report them when you see it. We need to know if you’ve been treated wrongly. We need to know about it immediately. We need to find those people and bring them to justice. 
  • How do you feel after getting the vaccine? Were you concerned?
    • I wanted to wait, but now that we have over 3 million vaccinated, I felt it was time to. It’s a great relief knowing I’m vaccinated. Since it’s J&J, it’s one and done.
  • Worry that people are letting their guard down. Would you do an indoor fitness class?
    • I would not do an indoor fitness class right now. I am worried about people letting their guard down. Most New Yorkers are doing well and know what precautions need to be taken. 
  • Possible revision of CDC guidance on classroom and distancing. If they revise it to 3ft. Distance between students, will that change the way you revise school reopening?
    • Yes. The six months between now and September will be a change, We’re preparing for every child to come back if their families want them back. We’re starting the planning now to be ready for the possibility the CDC will change the standard. If there’s a change from 3ft to 6 ft, the change of an opt-in will be likely.
  • If CDC changes policy, you’d open opt-in this semester for families?
    • We’re preparing for the possibility of a new opt-in for this current school year, but we’re waiting for see more information. Over 30,000 members of UFT/CSA have been vaccinated. The number is low — many educators have also gotten vaccinated and not reported to UFT etc. 
  • What will you do with your vaccination card? 
    • It’s important for people to keep the vaccination card handy for record, and it’ll be helpful to our reopening effort. 

Latest updates:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced that restrictions will be lifted in the final five yellow cluster zones on Monday, March 22. Cuomo also said indoor fitness centers will be reopening and that starting April 5, the 11 p.m. curfew will be lifted for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiard halls and more.

The latest official numbers:

As of Thursday, there were 1,757,493 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March 2020 and 39,748 lab-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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