A mobile sign marks the entrance to the vaccination site at Stony Brook University. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Citing the continued decline in COVID testing positivity and hospitalization rates and the rising number of vaccinations statewide, Gov. Andrew Cuomo yesterday announced that restaurants outside of New York City, can increase indoor occupancy to 75% occupancy on March 19.

Restaurants outside of New York City have been operating at 50% capacity. Restaurant in the five boroughs will remain at 35% capacity, the governor said.

New York’s statewide seven-day average testing positivity rate has fallen to 3.2%. That’s the lowest seven-day average in New York since Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26. During the holiday season, COVID infections climbed and the statewide seven-day positivity rate climbed to a peak of 8% on Jan. 5. It has been steadily, if slowly, declining since that date.

The Long Island region again had the highest testing positivity rate, among the regions of the state outside of New York City. It was 4.5% Saturday, and 4.3% on a seven-day average.

COVID hospitalizations in New York have also been declining, falling to 4,789 on Saturday — dropping below 5,000 for the first time since early December. But the number of patients hospitalized with COVID in New York remains roughly double what it was in the weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday. The number of COVID patients in intensive care unit and the number of patients on ventilators, also continue to decline.

Cuomo said yesterday there would be 850,000 vaccinations administered in New York this week.

“We’ve done more than 5.5 million total doses,” he said, “3.6 million first doses, 1.9 million second doses.”

It’s all “good news,” the governor said.

In Suffolk County, the seven-day average testing positivity rate was 4.2% Saturday, according to data published by the county. The rate has held more or less steady at that level since mid-February. As of Saturday, Suffolk County has reported 159,415 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since last March.

COVID hospitalizations have declined in Suffolk to the lowest numbers reported since early December. There were 372 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 in Suffolk hospitals on Saturday.

According to Suffolk County’s daily bulletin, 262,744 people in Suffolk have received at least one vaccine dose; 136,257 people have completed their vaccine series, according to the published information.

Nearly 18% of Suffolk’s total population of 1,481,093 has received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, the county said.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.