By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday he expected the rate of positive tests for the novel coronavirus to continue rising in the state into winter.
Both the state and New York City have seen positive test rates creep above 2% again in recent days in what Cuomo called a “new phase” of the coronavirus’s spread.
“The numbers are undeniable,” he told reporters on a conference call. “The best you can do is manage the increase.” He said cases may continue to rise until a vaccine became widely available.
Earlier on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned that the city may soon enter a second wave of infections after grappling with what at the time was the world’s worst outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this year.
He said New Yorkers might see restrictions reintroduced, saying he now thought indoor dining at restaurants, even at restricted capacity, should be reconsidered, though he said that decision ultimately rested with Cuomo.
Stricter rules in nearby New Jersey were announced by Governor Phil Murphy on Monday in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the Garden State, and outbreaks among bartenders at several establishments.
New rules ban service while sitting at the bar and end indoor dining – still limited to 25 percent capacity – at 10 p.m., although outdoor dining is permitted to continue.
“As the night wears on people let their hair down and folks are just not social distancing as they should,” Murphy told a press conference.
He also announced the shutdown of interstate indoor youth sports events, up to and including high school age athletes, after seeing transmission increases among young team members, particularly those playing indoor hockey.
Across the Hudson River, New York City officials said they are worried about a new uptick in cases on Staten Island, one of the city’s five boroughs, and said they would spend Tuesday encouraging island residents to get a free test.
(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Additional reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama/Mark Heinrich)