Gov. Andrew Cuomo said all the experts predicted COVID-19 cases would rise in the fall and winter, and that is exactly what is happening. In his Sunday briefing, Cuomo reported the statewide positivity rate is now just under 5%, another 106 New Yorkers have died from the virus and more than 5,400 people are currently hospitalized.
"The problem is the cold weather is driving people indoors, which in turn is driving more spread," Cuomo said. "Contact tracing data shows the main driver of cases is household and small gatherings, so we have to adjust our behavior accordingly — avoid these types of gatherings, wear a mask, adhere to social distancing."
However, the good news is that a vaccine has been approved, there's "light at the end of the tunnel," the governor said, but New Yorkers need to remain vigilant until the vaccine is widely available.
As of Sunday, the positivity rate for the Western New York Region was nearly 7%. That includes 520 new cases in Erie County, 184 in Niagara County, 52 in Chautauqua County and 40 in Cattaraugus County.
The state is also watching hospital capacity numbers. For Western New York, capacity is at 26%, compared to 40% in the Southern Tier. For ICU beds, capacity is at 47% in Western New York, while the Southern Tier is at 33%.