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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announces 47% drop in COVID-19 cases

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announces 47% drop in COVID-19 cases
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signaled Saturday that the Empire State was making progress in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent surge of the Omicron variant. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 15 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signaled Saturday that the Empire State was making progress in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent surge of the Omicron variant.

Hochul said that the state recorded 47,870 positive tests Friday, a 47% drop from the most recent peak of 90,132 cases reported Jan. 7, with only 14.6% of tests coming back positive.

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"We are turning the corner on the winter surge, but we're not through this yet," Hochul said. "Please keep getting vaccinated, getting the booster dose, getting our children vaccinated, and wearing non-cloth masks. Let's not undo all the hard work we've put in to bring the numbers down."

State health data shows that there were 1,843 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals on Friday -- a decrease of 38 new patients from the day before. However, the number of new patients admitted to intensive care units increased by 34 patients from the day before after 1,653 were admitted Friday.

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The state has reported that 70.8% of New Yorkers have received a completed vaccine series, as officials work to push for expanded access to testing and vaccines -- including booster shots.

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On Friday, Hochul announced that the state would add nine testing sites at State University of New York campuses -- bringing the total to 29 testing sites at SUNY campuses announced throughout January.

"Through our winter surge plan we are building on our ongoing efforts to make testing more widely available, and that includes utilizing our SUNY campus facilities that are equipped to distribute more tests to New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said.

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"Expanded access to testing will ensure those who are positive with the virus can isolate to limit spread and keep others in their communities well. We're turning the corner on this winter surge but we're not through this yet, so let's continue to use the tools that will help stop the spread."

Data from New York City shows that the number of cases and hospitalizations are decreasing in the Big Apple -- though remain at levels considered "very high transmission."

The city has recorded an average of 1,974 new cases per 100,000 people for the last seven days, a sharp decrease from the 3,540 new cases per 100,000 people reported on Jan. 2.

New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi released a preliminary report regarding the severity and impact of the Omicron surge on Thursday.

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"Omicron became the dominant variant in NYC within five weeks after it was first detected. For comparison, the delta variant took 20 weeks to become the dominant variant," the report reads.

The report noted that hospitalizations dropped from about 5% during previous variants to about 2%, though hospitalizations themselves occurred in greater numbers. According to the report, those who were not vaccinated were eight times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated.

"In NYC, our vaccine requirements -- including our private-sector mandate -- remain in effect, and highlight how vital local public health efforts are," Chokshi said in a tweet.

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