Tests of more than 3,900 prison inmates age 55 and above found an infection rate of 1.9 percent, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said, as criminal justice advocates have called for some inmates to be released in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
The test was designed to find asymptomatic prison inmates and all 77 inmates who were found to be positive were not showing symptoms.
"We just did a blanket, every single person 55 and over," said Melissa DeRosa, the top aide to the governor.
The inmates were quarantined and monitored, she said.
"You have had outbreaks across the country that have been quite significant," Cuomo said. "That's when we decided to go just test everybody, 55 and over, even if they are asymptomatic."
Statewide, New York's infection rate remains relatively flat as the results of 69,698 cases in the last day found 811 cases, a rate of 1.16 percent. Hospitalizations from the virus stand at 706 patients, Cuomo said.
The governor also unveiled a public service announement aimed at encouraging young people to socially distance and wear masks. A party in Albany on July 4 has resulted in a spike in COVID cases in the Capital Region.
"One bad group can be a real problem," Cuomo said.
"To young people: This is not your time to fight for your right to party," Cuomo added. "I fully respect your right to party... But let's be smart about it."