NY ‘Turning the Corner’ on Covid Winter Surge, Hochul Says

winter surge
Gov. Kathy Hochul meets with the Federal Military Medical Team (MMT) deployed to NYC Health and Hospitals’ North Central Bronx Hospital and updates New Yorkers on the state’s progress regarding COVID-19. (Courtesy Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul)

New York is “turning the corner” on the winter surge of Covid-19 amid dropping infections and hospitalizations, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday.

“We believe we’re finally turning the corner on the winter wave. Just like the snow is melting, hopefully these numbers will continue to melt away,” Hochul said during a Covid press briefing at North Central Bronx Hospital on Feb. 1.

The latest numbers show 7,119 positive coronavirus cases as of Jan. 31, a 92% drop from three weeks ago when the state’s Department of Health registered a whopping 90,132 cases on Jan. 7.

The infection rate across a seven-day average was 5.9%, a nearly 17-point drop from a 23% peak on Jan. 2, and there were 7,100 hospitalizations, down from a peak of 12,671 on Jan. 11, according to DOH data.

There were 122 people who died from the virus, up from 87 the day before, according to the governor’s office.

The case numbers only reflect PCR tests taken at testing sites and neither health departments in the state nor local governments collects data on people who do at-home tests, which have become more widely available during the Omicron wave.

While the concerns around overwhelmed hospitals were abating, Hochul said the pandemic was not over yet, with vaccinations among younger kids increasing at slow rates.

The DOH will hold a free virtual public forum of health experts sharing their insights and research on long Covid Thursday, Feb. 3, examining the longer-term symptoms affecting some who are infected with the virus.

The governor’s mask-or-vaccine mandate for indoor public spaces is set to expire by Feb. 10, but the governor declined to say if she plans to extend it further until the end of the month.

The state has struggled to get younger New Yorkers aged 5-11 the shots, with only 37.9% with at least one dose and 28.1% with both doses, far lower than their older counterparts.

“We’re focused on the fact that those numbers, as much as they’re going upwards, are not where they should be. They’re nowhere close to what they should be,” Hochul said.

Drug manufacturers Pfizer and BioNTech are reportedly going to file for emergency use of a vaccine regimen for even younger kids aged between six months and 5-years-old with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as early as Tuesday.

Almost 80% of 12-17-year-olds have gotten at least one dose and 69.5% in that age bracket have received both. Adults have the highest intake rate at upwards of 95% for the first dose and 84% for a completed vaccination series.

The New York State Consortium on Long COVID will be on Thursday, Feb. 3 from 8:45 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Register online for free at ny.gov/longcovidpanel.

This story first appeared on amNY.com.

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