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114 New Yorkers die from COVID-19 on Sunday, 8 from Bronx

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114 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 on Sunday and 8 of those were from the Bronx.

And Governor Cuomo announced he will sign an Executive Order increasing penalties on health care providers who intentionally disregard the state's vaccine prioritization protocols.

Giving the State's COVID-19 update Monday, Governor Cuomo said the State's positivity rate stood at 8.33 percent, up from the Statewide positivity rate of 5.85 percent recorded the previous day.

He said 7,559 patient hospitalizations were recorded statewide and 1,222 of those patients were in the ICU while 717 were intubated.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City recorded 2,428 new COVID-19 cases, representing a 7.24 percent positivity rate with 224 new hospitalizations.

And Governor Cuomo announced that 140,000 New Yorkers have received the first COVID-19 vaccine dose to date.

He said New York State expects to receive 259,000 additional doses this week — 139,400 from Pfizer and 119,600 from Moderna.  

The Governor also announced that the state is expanding the priority populations eligible to receive a vaccine to include urgent care center employees, individuals administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staff, and residents of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports' congregate facilities. 

He said vaccines will continue to be distributed for high-risk hospital workers, federally qualified health center employees, EMS, coroners, medical examiners, funeral workers and residents and staff of Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and Office of Mental Health facilities. 

Governor Cuomo said next week, the state expects to expand this universe further with the addition of ambulatory care workers and public-facing public health workers.

"There is no denying the facts and the fact is that social gatherings spread the virus if we are not smart. In a year where we've collectively felt out of control, we actually have the power to determine our own future because our actions will ultimately determine the spread," Governor Cuomo said. "We've begun seeing increases in positivity across the nation throughout the past several days and New York has not been immune to that trend. While our experts work to determine whether this uptick is a statistical anomaly due to reduced testing over the holiday weekend, or if this is a result of pre-Christmas spread which is being evidenced now, we all know what we have to do in the meantime – wear a mask, socially distance and avoid gatherings. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and New York is leading the nation in distributing the vaccine to get us there, but as we approach the end of the holiday season, the rest of us must stay tough. Remember – if we act smart, than we can avoid shutdowns and win this war."

Earlier Monday, Governor Cuomo announced he will sign an Executive Order increasing penalties on health care providers who intentionally disregard the state's vaccine prioritization protocols. 

Under the new Executive Order, providers who knowingly administer the vaccine to individuals outside of the state's prioritization protocols may face penalties up to $1 million, as well as revocation of all state licenses. 

Additionally, certification of vaccine recipients will now be mandatory as part of the State's vaccination process. 

This action comes following reports of a provider, ParCare Community Health Network, apparently obtaining and administering the COVID-19 vaccine by flouting state guidelines. The Governor has already directed the Department of Health and State Police to investigate the matter and the case has been referred to the office of Attorney General Letitia James.

"Another issue popped up because every day is a new issue to deal with: possible fraud by a healthcare provider. You're going to see more and more of this. The vaccine is a valuable commodity and you have many people who want the vaccine. You'll have fraud in the vaccine process. It's almost an inevitable function of human nature and of the marketplace. Vaccines are valuable and there will be people who break the law. We're looking at one health care provider who may have done that," Governor Cuomo said. "Anyone who engages in fraud is going to be held accountable. The executive order I'm going to sign today says a provider could be fined up to $1 million and revocation of all State licenses which frankly may be more of a deterrent than the $1 million and that will apply to a provider, a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist, any licensed healthcare professional. So if you engage in fraud on this vaccine we will remove your license to practice in the State of New York so we are very serious about this and this is the type of fraud that will be uncovered on the old adage that people talk, people talk, and somebody gets a vaccine and goes out and tells his buddy, I got a vaccine, how did you get a vaccine, you're not ready, you're not on the priority list, well, you can go to this place. I was the attorney general for four years. People talk, we will find out, and it's not worth risking your license as well as a possible civil and criminal penalty."

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