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COVID-19 in New York: Less than 1% tested positive Friday, possible Westchester cluster investigated

FILE PHOTO: Traveling nurse Meghan Lindsey poses inside the lobby of NYU Winthrop Hospital, where she traveled to work during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mineola, New York, U.S., May 14, 2020. Picture taken May 14, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Less than 1% of the more than 70,000 New York state residents tested for COVID-19 on Friday came back positive, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday morning.

Even so, there are concerns about potential clusters of coronavirus popping up across the state, including one that may be developing in Westchester County. Cuomo again urged New Yorkers to be cautious, and also discouraged travel to COVID-19 hot zones out of state. 

To underscore that point, Cuomo signed an executive order making New York employees ineligible to receive paid sick leave if they voluntarily travel to a hot zone and wind up becoming ill.

The pandemic in New York state continues on its downward trend. Approximately 703 New Yorkers out of 73,262 tested (0.96% in all) were positive for the coronavirus, Cuomo said. There were also 13 deaths related to COVID-19 on June 26.

More than half of the new COVID-19 cases detected Friday came from New York City, which had 362 patients in all. Yet, according to the state’s figures, just 1% of New York City residents tested on June 26 for the virus came back positive.

The number of those hospitalized for COVID-19 dropped to 908, however, there were 78 new virus patients admitted to a medical center Friday. That’s up 16 from the 62 new admissions reported on June 25.

To date, New York state has 391,923 confirmed coronavirus cases since the outbreak started on March 1. There have also been 24,830 deaths statewide from the illness.

Meanwhile, Cuomo ordered a state Health Department investigation into a possible new cluster in Westchester County connected to a high school graduation ceremony.

According to the governor, a student who had recently traveled to Florida — one of the many current COVID-19 hotspots in the U.S. — attended the ceremony, and later began exhibiting symptoms. He would test positive for COVID-19.

Since then, Cuomo said, four others who attended the graduation also tested positive for COVID-19.

“We’re prepared to do the aggressive testing and contact tracing required to slow and ultimately control any potential clusters of new cases like the one in Westchester County,” the governor said. “If we are going to maintain the progress we’ve seen, we need everyone to take personal responsibility — that’s why I’m issuing an executive order that says any New York employee who voluntarily travels to a high-risk state will not be eligible for the COVID protections we created under paid sick leave.”

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