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New York state coronavirus death toll surpasses 15,000

The coronavirus death toll in New York state has surpassed 15,000, Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoOvernight Health Care: Testing capacity strained as localities struggle with vaccine staffing | Health workers refusing vaccine is growing problem | Incoming CDC director expects 500,000 COVID deaths by mid-February Health workers refusing vaccine is new growing US problem Governors say no additional vaccine doses coming, despite Trump admin promise MORE (D) announced Tuesday afternoon. 

Cuomo said the state reported 474 coronavirus-related deaths Tuesday, marking a “gentle decline” from the previous day, when the state saw 481 deaths. At its peak, New York saw 805 deaths on April 7.

The state’s death toll stands at 15,302.

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The governor also announced that the number of people being admitted to hospitals declined for the ninth consecutive day, with the state appearing to be on the road to a downward curve in new cases. 

“We spoke truth, we spoke facts, we made decisions and we have a plan going forward,” Cuomo said at a daily press briefing. 

Cuomo said New York is testing more people for coronavirus than any other state in the country and more per capita "than any country on the globe.” While New York can now conduct 20,000 tests a day, Cuomo said that testing needs to increase even more before restrictions on business and public life can be lifted.  

On Wednesday New York counted 4,812 new cases.

"We want more testing ... because when you identify a positive then you can isolate that person and that's exactly what we're trying to do," Cuomo said. "When you increase the number of tests, you're going to increase the number of people who test positive."

As of Wednesday afternoon there are 258,589 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in New York, including more than 141,235 in New York City. 

Cuomo announced that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will launch a contact tracing program with the help of former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergBiden selects Gina Raimondo for Commerce chief: reports 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics NFL, politics dominate 2020 ratings MORE, Johns Hopkins University and Vital Strategies.