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Cuomo: 14% of New Yorkers tested have coronavirus antibodies


Random testing conducted on 3,000 New Yorkers found that 13.9 percent of them have antibodies for the virus that causes COVID-19. That likely means they've been exposed to the virus and have fought off an infection.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced those results Thursday. Earlier in the week, the state administered the tests to volunteers at 40 grocery stores located 19 counties, including Wegmans’ East Avenue store in Rochester.

“It means you are testing people who by definition are out of the home and not at work,” Cuomo said.

The preliminary results show the percentage of New Yorkers who have already had and recovered from the novel coronavirus strain varies among regions of the state. New York City, which has been the epicenter of the virus, had the highest rate at 21.2 percent. On Long Island, 16.7 percent of those tested had recovered from an infection; in Westchester and Rockland counties, the figure was 11.7 percent; and in the rest of state, it was 3.6 percent.

The governor said the lower rate of infection in upstate supports the view that perhaps some regions of the state — he didn't name specific ones — could reopen earlier than others. But he added that he continues to worry that people from areas still closed up will flock to areas that reopen first.

Cuomo also said the daily COVID-19 death toll is still “terrible,” with 438 lives lost to the disease Wednesday. But that number is lower than it’s been for much of April, and the number of new hospitalizations for the virus is also waning. The state is likely past its apex, though 15,021 patients are still hospitalized.

The governor said if the numbers continue to go down, the rate of infection may be low by the summer. But he said he and health experts have concerns about a second wave of the virus next fall that could coincide with flu season, which could overwhelm both the testing and health care systems if steps aren’t taken now. If there’s a second wave in the fall, people with symptoms will be seeking tests for both the flu and COVID-19, Cuomo added.