NYC Covid Rates Are ‘Plateauing,’ N.Y. Governor Hochul Says
(Bloomberg) -- The omicron-fueled Covid surge in New York appears to be “cresting over that peak” as the rate of increase slows, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Tuesday.
She said the percentage of New Yorkers that tested positive has dropped to 18.6%, from more than 22% in recent days.
In New York City, Covid rates are “plateauing,” while upstate figures are tracking behind the city by a couple of weeks, Hochul said in a virus briefing.
Officials warned that cases remain fourfold higher than the beginning of December and that hospitalizations and deaths remain elevated. Hospitalizations and deaths typically lag cases. The state had 12,540 New Yorkers hospitalized on Monday, and 160 people died, Hochul said.
Health officials are now asking regional hospitals in Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes and Central New York to cease elective surgeries for the next two weeks to clear space for the Covid spike. Particularly worrying, they said, is the elevated rate of pediatric Covid cases, particularly among the unvaccinated. Among kids ages 5 to 11, 91% of hospitalizations are children who are unvaccinated.
“It is still putting too much stress on our hospitals,” Hochul said. “We’re not at the end, but there’s a glimmer of hope.”
The state is also making a change to the way it conducts contact tracing. Health officials will no longer be calling residents who test positive for Covid, moving toward a system of self-management, in order to help state and local health department staff focus on testing and vaccination.
New York has also ramped up Covid testing, breaking a record with 425,782 tests performed on Jan. 7, compared to roughly 182,000 tests performed around Thanksgiving.
Still, the state has only received 13 million of the 49 million tests it has ordered. A fifth of people coming to New York’s emergency rooms are showing up seeking a Covid test because they struggle to find it elsewhere. Statewide 7.68 million tests have been sent to schools so far, with more than 3 million to New York City schools, Hochul said.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.