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Sound Bites: New York scales back COVID-19 data reporting

A healthcare worker administers a COVID-19 PCR test at a free test site in Farragut Square on Dec. 28 in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, the CDC revised data reflecting the prevalence of the omicron variant in new COVID-19 cases.
Anna Moneymaker
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Getty Images
A healthcare worker administers a COVID-19 PCR test at a free test site.

Good morning! Official reports of New York COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and other data about the virus are expected to be scaled back later this month. Still, Governor Kathy Hochul said state health officials will work to improve COVID data collection to ease pressure from health providers and better oversee the state’s overall health monitoring system. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing: 

A Bridgeport resident is suing state court officials for a clerical error that kept him in jail for an extra 46 days. Edgar Torres was arrested in December for failing to appear in court. His bond changed several times in January but the state Department of Correction held Torres on incorrect bail until Jan. 27. Torres is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for suffering unnecessary emotional distress during his jail time extension.

The Church of Scientology’s plan to renovate a New Haven property will expire in November — nearly 20 years after the church purchased the former Whalley Ave department store in New Haven. The Church, which operates from a building up the street from the store, has been exempt from paying property taxes on the site due to its inevitable plan to renovate the building. The property is worth nearly $3 million.

New York will not lower the minimum scores required for state math and language arts tests despite seeing lower scores in 2022. Instead, according to Monday’s Board of Regents meeting, a group of teachers in the state will recommend a new necessary achievement standard for each level of performance on these tests this summer. In 2022, only 46.6% of students grades 3-8 showed proficiency in English Language Arts, while only 38.6% were proficient in math.

A state audit determined that 20 Long Island school districts failed to properly track and safeguard IT assets. Nearly $300,000 worth of equipment were not accounted for, including 81 missing Chromebooks. The state comptroller recommends each school district maintain IT inventory records and establish safeguard procedures.

Aides from the offices of Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy (D-CT) met with NCAA President Charlie Baker to discuss potential legislation to govern college athlete compensation. A public hearing on college athlete compensation is scheduled in the House for March 29.

Legislation in New York would restore the state coat of arms and flag to its original design. In 2020, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo changed the flag by adding the Latin phrase “E Pluribus Unum” to a banner, which translates to “out of many, one.” The Senate sponsor, while accepting of the motto, wants to rid the flag of Cuomo’s “personality driven” agenda.

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim will hire Norwalk-based SoNo Studios to redesign the city’s seal. According to Hearst Connecticut Media, officials claim the current Bridgeport logo is too busy, difficult to read and hard to reproduce for small print. The City Council approved $23,300 last week to spend on this redesign.

Sports betting in Connecticut plummeted in February. The state Department of Consumer Protection reports a decrease in Connecticut’s sports betting revenue, gaining $136.5 million in last month, which is a near 20% decrease from January’s $167.7 million profit.

Long Island Wine Country will celebrate its 50th anniversary. As a part of the celebration, through April 2, visitors to wineries can simply show their driver’s license to enjoy VIP treatment, product discounts and upgraded tours with wine tastings. Some of these wineries include Borghese Vineyard, Coffee Pot Cellars, Fire Island Vines, Peconic Bay Vineyards and Wolffer Estate Vineyard.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.