NY Coronavirus Hospitalizations Hit Highest Level Since May

NEW YORK (AP) -
New machinery that helps to turn a regular hospital room into an isolation room at Bellevue Hospital in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

The number of New Yorkers hospitalized with coronavirus has risen to the highest level since mid-May, according to state figures released Saturday.

Officials said 6,208 people were hospitalized with the virus as of Friday — the largest number in the state since May 15.

The state on Saturday also reported 127 new deaths and 9,919 new cases.

Still, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York “can see the light at the end of the tunnel” with the arrival of the first vaccines.

“If we stay tough and be smart by socially distancing and wearing masks, we can avoid the holiday surge the experts are predicting and finally win this war,” the governor said in a news release.

The numbers were announced as Cuomo sent a letter to President Donald Trump calling on the Republican to ensure Congress passes an “urgently needed” relief package with support for not only families but state and local governments.

“The American people need financial assistance to make it through the end of the year,” Cuomo wrote. “Republican families need these relief checks as much as Democratic families.”

Also Saturday, Cuomo signed an executive order lifting the requirement that low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities must appear in person to renew their property tax exemptions. To claim or renew benefits, eligible seniors and people with disabilities typically line up at city and town halls across New York to file the required documentation, raising concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19.

Cuomo’s order allows local governments to automatically renew 2021 benefits for all property owners who received the benefit in 2020 unless local officials believe the person is no longer eligible.

His executive order also extends the sales tax deadline until March for restaurants located in orange alert zones, including New York City, which have been required to suspend indoor dining. Payments were originally due on Dec. 21.