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NYC officials: Older and at-risk people should limit outside activities amid COVID surge

December 1, 2020 Karen Matthews and Marina Villeneuve Associated Press
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With COVID-19 hospitalizations climbing, older New Yorkers and people with medical issues were urged by city officials Tuesday to limit activities outside their homes.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi joined Mayor Bill de Blasio at his daily briefing to announce the advisory aimed at those most at risk from the virus: people over 64 years old and people with underlying health conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

“That means stopping nonessential activities, staying in as much as possible and avoiding social activities outside of your household,” Chokshi said.

Hospitalizations have been rising for weeks with a seasonal surge in infections. Chokshi said hospitals in the city reported more than 1,100 COVID-19 patients, twice as many compared to less than three weeks ago and the highest number since early June.

That’s still far below the more than 12,000 COVID-19 patients citywide in April, when the city was a pandemic hot spot.

The “notice” from Chokshi is not an order and it does not advise at-risk people to avoid traveling to work, school, grocery stores or pharmacies.

Grim November

New York reported just under 1,000 deaths from the virus across the state in November, about three times the number of fatalities recorded in October.

The rise in fatalities comes as New York and other states struggle to mitigate the spread of the virus. New York averaged nearly 6,900 new cases per day of the virus over the past seven days, up 26 percent from the week before.

In all, about 146,000 New Yorkers tested positive for the virus in November, or about one out of every 134 people in the state. That’s nearly triple the number in October.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday rates of infection are projected to rise higher with increased gatherings over Thanksgiving.

“I think you’re looking at mid-January for stabilization of the rate,” Cuomo said. “I hope. I hope. I hope.”

Villeneuve reported from Albany, N.Y. Associated Press writer Michael Hill contributed.

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