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Coronavirus cases jump 41.4% in New York over the past week, raising new concerns


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New coronavirus cases leaped in New York in the week ending Saturday, rising 41.4% as 61,687 cases were reported.

The previous week had 43,615 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19. The latest growth ranked New York 11th in the nation in the rate of new cases over the past week.

But New York ranked 38th among the states per capita where coronavirus was spreading the fastest, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.

"I understand New Yorkers may be feeling COVID fatigue, especially now that we have entered the holiday season and the first batch of vaccines is a couple weeks away, but if there was ever a time to double down and be vigilant, it's now," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Saturday.

New York positive testing rate was in all focus areas on Friday was 4.99%, down from 5.41% a day earlier, but still up from 2% a month ago.

The rate within the roughly 30 micro-cluster zones with the highest level of infection was 6.17% on Friday and 4.59% outside the zones.

Cuomo noted that New York still ranks among the lowest states in the nation in infection rates after having the highest levels in the U.S. at the start of the pandemic in March.

He has stressed in recent days that the rise in infection rates is largely attributed to small indoor gatherings.

More: NY COVID-19 tracker: More than 11,000 new cases reported Friday

More: Watch: Cuomo demonstrates how a COVID vaccine will arrive packaged to states

New Yorkers, he said, "already did the best job in the country the first time around, going from the highest infection rate to one of the lowest, and I have no doubt if we continue to stay smart, we will get through this together — stronger, tougher and more loving than before."

In the latest week, the U.S added 1.3 million reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 17.2% from the week before. Across the country, 36 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Within New York, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Oneida, Richmond (Staten Island) and Genesee counties.

Adding the most new cases overall were Suffolk County, with 6,183 cases; Queens County, with 5,537 cases; and Kings County (Brooklyn), with 5,529.

Weekly case counts rose in 56 counties of New York's 62 counties from the previous week, the data showed. 

>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

The share of New York test results that came back positive was 4.8% in the latest week, compared with 3.3% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows.

In the latest week, 1.3 million tests were administered, on par with the week prior.

Experts say it is important to look at the share of tests that come back positive, not just case counts, to get a better idea of whether the rate of new infections is changing or if differences in testing are playing a role.

The World Health Organization says places should be conducting enough tests to have fewer than 5% coming back positive.

Places where the percentage is higher could struggle to complete contact tracing soon enough to prevent spread of the virus.

Across New York, cases fell in six counties, with the best declines in Chemung, Schuyler and Allegany counties.

In the state, 386 people died in the latest week. In the previous week, 218 people died.

A total of 696,125 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 34,900 people have died from the disease, both confirmed and suspected cases, Johns Hopkins University data shows.

In the U.S, 14.6 million people have tested positive and 281,186 people have died.