New York is finally beginning to turn around the latest wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Governor Kathy Hochul reported Friday.
The president noted that the positivity rate and the seven-day average number of cases, which shot to staggering highs amid the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, are trending downward, Hochul said at a news conference in Albany.
“There will come a time when we can say it’s all over,” Hochul said. “We’re not there yet, but it’s on the horizon and we’ve waited a long time for it.”
Hochul reported 177 new Covid deaths and 12,207 hospitalizations in the state, while noting that both metrics tend to lag behind the current trajectory of the virus.
“You have all done the right thing, and that is why we will be at the forefront of states seeing this long-awaited and anticipated decline,” Hochul said. “New York is turning the corner on the wave of winter.”
New York has the highest vaccination rate in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 73% of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated against COVID and nearly 86% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Hochul also announced that the Empire State has secured 64 million COVID tests, 15 million of which have already been distributed.
The Omicron variant appears to be less likely than previous variants to cause severe symptoms, but is significantly more infectious, leading to a large increase in hospitalizations.
But Omicron’s milder symptoms haven’t left New York’s intensive care wards as overwhelmed as they were at the start of the pandemic.
Hochul also thanked the Biden administration for sending military and federal medical teams to New York and five other states that had asked for help with hospital staffing shortages.
FEMA, the agency that sent additional staff, announced Friday that it would expand its policy to provide funds to states that required National Guard members to support hospitals under pressure.