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As we continue to see the number of COVID cases rise in New York and across the nation, it’s critical that we not only remain tough and practice safe behaviors to limit viral spread, but that we also do everything in our power to ensure hospitals are prepared to handle a growing number of patients.

As I announced Monday, New York has instituted a number of measures to help prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed including a directive to expand capacity by 25 percent. Everyone must do their part to slow the spread of the virus and stop the uptick in hospitalizations. If we work together and stay New York Tough, we can manage this pandemic until the vaccine is here. 

Photo of the Day: New Yorkers stop by to view the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images) 

Here’s what else you need to know today: 

1. Total COVID hospitalizations rose to 4,835. Of the 162,464 tests reported yesterday, 9,335, or 5.74 percent, were positive. There were 906 patients in ICU yesterday, up 34 from the previous day. Of them, 493 are intubated. Sadly, we lost 74 New Yorkers to the virus.  

2. Driver’s license expiration dates have been pushed back to January 1, 2021. If you have a New York State Driver’s License or permit with an expiration date after March 1, 2020, it is still valid until January 1, 2021. This extended an Executive Order that granted people whose licenses expired during the pandemic more time to renew.  

3. SUNY Upstate Medical University received the number one ranking by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 saliva test. The saliva test developed by Upstate Medical and New York startup Quadrant Biosciences, called Clarifi COVID-19, detects the virus in its earliest stages. The FDA also cited the test as being among the most sensitive tests regardless of type. SUNY’s COVID-19 saliva test is cost-effective and easy to use, which has been instrumental in helping SUNY campuses test students and staff and pinpoint cases.  

4. In the second round of the program, Nourish NY has so far spent $2.4 million to help New Yorkers in need. So far, over 2.6 million pounds of raw milk has been turned into dairy products and distributed by food banks, along with 750,000 pounds of produce. Over one million households in need have received products sourced from New York farms. 

Tonight’s “Deep Breath Moment”: Major Wooten of Alabama was recently hospitalized with COVID-19 but overcame the virus just in time to celebrate his 104th birthday last week. Wooten, who served in World War II repairing damaged trains in France, left Madison Hospital in a wheelchair adorned with birthday balloons as hospital workers sang “Happy Birthday.”  

If you were forwarded this email, you can subscribe to New York State’s Coronavirus Updates here. 

Ever Upward, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

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