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Almost One-in-Eight New Yorkers Might have had Coronavirus by New Antibody Testing: Gov Cuomo Flickr

Nearly one in every eight New Yorkers might have contracted the coronavirus, according to preliminary results from a series of antibody tests conducted by the state in recent weeks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.

New York has now tested 15,103 people for COVID-19 antibodies, Cuomo said, and 12.3% of those surveyed have come back positive.  When someone tests positive for COVID-19 antibodies, it means they’ve already contracted the disease and recovered. It may also mean they’re less likely to catch the disease again, though the World Health Organization has said people shouldn’t assume they’re immune.

"We've done the largest survey in the nation testing for people who have antibodies," Cuomo said.  "If somebody has antibodies, it means that that person was infected. That's what the antibody test does for you. It tells you that that person was infected. They've now recovered so that they have antibodies. I went through this with my brother Chris. He got infected, he now has the antibodies."

The preliminary results Saturday suggest the prevalence of COVID-19 in New York City far outpaces the disease in other areas of the state. About a fifth of those tested for antibodies in the five boroughs, or 19.9%, came back positive.

Outside New York City, the results show that Western New York has the highest share of cases compared to the region’s population, with 6% identified as positive for antibodies.  The Hudson Valley region, minus Westchester and Rockland Counties, had half that amount, according to the results, with the rest of upstate trailing below. The North Country had the fewest projected cases, with only 1.2% testing positive for antibodies.

Within New York City, there’s a wide gap between the share of positive cases in each of the five boroughs, according to the results.  In the Bronx, 27.6% of those tested for antibodies came back positive. That’s compared to 17.3% in Manhattan. The other three boroughs were below 20%, but above Manhattan’s numbers.



The results also showed that more Hispanic/Latino people tested positive for antibodies than any other race identified in the study. About a quarter of Hispanic/Latino people surveyed, or 25.4%, tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.  Of the other races identified in the results, 17.4% of Black people and 11.1% of Asian people tested positive for antibodies. About 14% of those who either identified as multiracial or didn’t specify a race tested positive for antibodies.  Only 7% of white people tested came back positive for COVID-19 antibodies, according to the results.

New York is planning to continue testing residents for COVID-19 antibodies on a rolling basis to nail down how prevalent the disease is in specific areas of the state, and different communities. That’s expected to inform the state’s continued response to the disease, Cuomo has said.  Hospitals have also agreed, starting Saturday, to start providing the state with more detailed information about patients hospitalized with COVID-19.  They’ll now report every patient’s age, gender, race, ethnicity, residence, comorbidities, occupation, and how they travel to work. They’ll also disclose where that person was admitted from, whether from their home, the street, or a nursing home.

The number of total hospitalizations, statewide, dipped again to 10,350 Friday, the latest data available from the state. That’s a net decrease of 643. Of those, 2,923 are still intubated, which is also a drop from Thursday. 

"Good news is that number is down a tick again today. The net change in hospitalizations is down a tick. Intubations is down, which is very good news. The new cases walking in the door, the new COVID cases, the number of new infections, was also down a little bit, 831," Cuomo Said.  "The number that I watch every day, which is the worst, is the number of deaths. That number has remained obnoxiously and terrifyingly high, and it's still not dropping at the rate we would like to see it drop."

An additional 1,085 people were discharged Friday. That means that, since the pandemic began, the state has identified 51,652 people with COVID-19 who’ve been treated at the hospital and subsequently discharged.

The total number of people who’ve tested positive for the disease increased to 312,977 Friday, an increase of 4,663 over Thursday.  As of Friday, 18,862 people had died from the disease in New York. That’s an increase of 299 from Thursday’s statewide total.

This story was first published by New York Nowfrom WMHT

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.