Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced that New York has once again seen a record number of cases

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced that New York has once again seen a record number of cases

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced that New York has once again seen a record number of cases

New York once again smashed COVID records on Wednesday, with more than 28,000 cases reported across the Empire State.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced at a news conference that the state recorded 28,924 new cases on Wednesday – the fifth day over the past six in which the state has recorded new high numbers of cases, and the sixth day in a row that the state reported more than 20,000 cases. 

‘This virus is going vertical,’ she warned. ‘It’s going straight up.’

Hochul called Wednesday ‘another day we’re breaking records – not records we’re proud about, but they’re continuing.’ 

She noted, however, that hospitalizations are just two-thirds of what they were at the same time last year, with 4,452 people across the state hospitalized with COVID on Wednesday, a 58 percent decrease since New York hit a peak last January, according to the CDC.

Still, Hochul reiterated, ‘This is not March 2020, this is not even December 2020.

‘We’re not panicking. We have the resources we need,’ she said, noting that 94.6 percent of New Yorkers over the age of 18 have had at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and the state has administered over 3 million doses since December 1, with 4.1 million New Yorkers getting a booster dose. 

On Wednesday, the state recorded 28,924 new cases on Wednesday - the fifth day over the past six in which the state has recorded new high numbers of cases, and the sixth day in a row that the state reported more than 20,000 cases.

On Wednesday, the state recorded 28,924 new cases on Wednesday - the fifth day over the past six in which the state has recorded new high numbers of cases, and the sixth day in a row that the state reported more than 20,000 cases.

On Wednesday, the state recorded 28,924 new cases on Wednesday – the fifth day over the past six in which the state has recorded new high numbers of cases, and the sixth day in a row that the state reported more than 20,000 cases. 

Hochul also said that 4.1 million New Yorkers have already received their COVID booster shots

Hochul also said that 4.1 million New Yorkers have already received their COVID booster shots

Hochul also said that 4.1 million New Yorkers have already received their COVID booster shots

The state's hospitalization rate remained at two-thirds of what it was at last year, with 4,452 hospitalized COVID patients

The state's hospitalization rate remained at two-thirds of what it was at last year, with 4,452 hospitalized COVID patients

The state’s hospitalization rate remained at two-thirds of what it was at last year, with 4,452 hospitalized COVID patients

Her comments come just one day after the president of one of New York’s largest hospital system said that the Omicron surge is not straining his facilities.

‘We’re doing very, very well, very manageable. There’s no crisis,’ Michael Dowling, the CEO of Northwell Health, told CNN‘s John Berman on Tuesday.

He noted that there are now 460 patients in its 23 hospitals, which is less than 10 percent of its overall capacity. But at the same time last year, during COVID’s second wave, the hospital system saw nearly 1,000 cases. And during the first wave, it had 3,500 patients suffering severe side effects from the virus.  

‘So when you look at the numbers today, they’re relatively modest,’ Dowling said, adding that the numbers went up after Thanksgiving and they are expecting more cases following the holiday season.

‘But it’s all manageable, we are able to deal with it,’ he said, ‘and I think it’s time for people to be a little more calm and rational.

‘While the positivity rate in the community is increasing, that does not immediately mean there’s an increase in hospitalizations,’ Dowling explained, adding that 80 percent of those hospitalized with COVID at Northwell facilities are not vaccinated.

Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling said on Tuesday the system's 23 hospitals have not seen a strain from COVID patients as the COVID positivity rate increases throughout New York

Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling said on Tuesday the system's 23 hospitals have not seen a strain from COVID patients as the COVID positivity rate increases throughout New York

Northwell Health CEO Michael Dowling said on Tuesday the system’s 23 hospitals have not seen a strain from COVID patients as the COVID positivity rate increases throughout New York

He spoke as outgoing NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that the current hospitalization rate for COVID patients stood at just 2.1 per 100,000 people.  

The prevalence of Omicron has increased by at least five-fold in a fortnight in New York. Of all the PCR tests sequenced for the week ending December 4, 2.2 percent were of the Omicron variant, while that number leapt to 11.1 percent on December 18. 

Around 93 percent of new COVID diagnoses in New York and neighboring New Jersey are now being caused by the Omicron variant, even though the first US case of the new strain was only reported December 1. 

The surge in virus cases has also prompted a run on tests, with popular urgent care center CityMD announcing it would shutter 13 of its locations across Brooklyn, Manhattan the Bronx and Queens due to overwhelming demand for tests. Lines of up to six hours have formed outside many testing sites, with results that are supposed to be delivered within 48 hours now taking four or five days.  

Earlier this morning, the NYPD announced that around eight percent of its staff – over 2,700 cops – had called in sick, more than 300 of whom have tested positive for COVID. 

In New York City, there has been a seven-day average of new coronavirus cases nearly doubling over the past week, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data.

On Wednesday, there were 3,794 confirmed COVID cases in the city, with a positivity rate of 6.96 percent, as nearly 80 percent of residents have had at least one dose of the COVID vaccine and 71.4 percent are fully vaccinated.  

There were 220 people admitted to New York City hospitals on Monday, and on Wednesday, the city saw 2.1 hospitalizations per every 100,000 people, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a news conference. 

Dowling reiterated to CNN's John Berman that the Omicron variant is not as virulent as other strains of COVID

Dowling reiterated to CNN's John Berman that the Omicron variant is not as virulent as other strains of COVID

Dowling reiterated to CNN’s John Berman that the Omicron variant is not as virulent as other strains of COVID

In New York City, there were just 220 people admitted to the hospitals on Monday

In New York City, there were just 220 people admitted to the hospitals on Monday

In New York City, there were just 220 people admitted to the hospitals on Monday

This chart shows how Omicron - pictured in orange - has quickly surged in prevalence among positive PCR tests sequenced in the Empire State, with the variant now estimated to account for 93 per cent of new diagnoses across New York

This chart shows how Omicron - pictured in orange - has quickly surged in prevalence among positive PCR tests sequenced in the Empire State, with the variant now estimated to account for 93 per cent of new diagnoses across New York

This chart shows how Omicron – pictured in orange – has quickly surged in prevalence among positive PCR tests sequenced in the Empire State, with the variant now estimated to account for 93 per cent of new diagnoses across New York

Another chart shows how infections have soared in New York in recent weeks, although hospitalizations remain low

Another chart shows how infections have soared in New York in recent weeks, although hospitalizations remain low

Another chart shows how infections have soared in New York in recent weeks, although hospitalizations remain low

Another chart shows how people who are unvaccinated make up the majority of new COVID diagnoses in New York - although 'breakthrough' infections among people who've had their shot and even been boosted are soaring too

Another chart shows how people who are unvaccinated make up the majority of new COVID diagnoses in New York - although 'breakthrough' infections among people who've had their shot and even been boosted are soaring too

Another chart shows how people who are unvaccinated make up the majority of new COVID diagnoses in New York – although ‘breakthrough’ infections among people who’ve had their shot and even been boosted are soaring too

Famed NYC restaurateur Danny Meyer will require all workers AND diners to show proof of booster shots to dine indoors

Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group said Wednesday it will require customers to show proof of having received a COVID booster shot in order to dine indoors starting in the new year.

‘Hospitality is a team sport – it’s kind of like putting on a play on Broadway or playing a basketball game,’ the restaurateur, whose famed eateries include Gramercy Tavern, Manhatta and Union Square Care, told CNBC

‘If you can’t field a full healthy team, you’re going to have to hit pause… We’ll see how that goes.’ 

He noted that all of his employees are vaccinated, and he is considering implementing a testing requirement as well. 

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 The mayor announced on Wednesday the city is opening an additional seven city-run testing sites, bringing the total up to 119 testing sites throughout the five boroughs.

At the same time, he said, the city is opening five mobile distribution sites – one in each borough – to hand out rapid at-home tests – something residents have had trouble finding in stores over the past week, and Dr. Michael Katz, the president and CEO of NYC Health and Hospitals, said the city will expand the hours of its testing facilities from 7am to 7pm.

The Centers for Disease Control is also deploying some of its Increasing Community Access to Testing Team mobile testing units, which will provide 25,000 PCR tests each week to the communities most in need.

Parents will also receive tests when their children go back to school in January, Hochul announced on Wednesday, and the state has added two more COVID testing sites at MTA stations – one in Times Square and 42nd Street and another at Grand Central Station.

Senator Chuck Schumer is also asking FEMA officials for an additional 100 new testing sites with more tests sent to people’s home, saying: ‘Testing is one of the best ways to fight this virus.’  

Meanwhile, urgent care company CityMD announced it would close 13 of its clinics in the city starting on Wednesday due to staffing concerns.

‘As so many of you are aware, most CityMD locations are operating at full capacity, doing our best to meet the urgent care needs of the people of New York and New Jersey,’ the company announced on its website.

‘Continuing to provide these services to the community is a top priority; however, our physicians and teammates are also a priority.

‘To preserve our ability to staff our sites, we are temporarily closing certain locations.’

Those include three each in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, and four in Manhattan.

A Manhattan-based nurse previously told DailyMail.com that patients hoping for COVID tests waited up to six hours at the CityMD Urgent Care on East 14th Street on Monday.

An operator for NYC Health + Hospital’s COVID Hotline couldn’t predict wait times at any of its more than 50 COVID testing centers across the five boroughs, but said that ‘hundreds and thousands of people’ were lined up throughout the city on Monday afternoon.

‘Make sure to dress super warmly and make sure to pack a dinner,’ COVID Hotline operator Nathan Wilkes suggested those planning to join the staggering queues in the coming days.

The Department of Health and Hospitals has now set up a site to monitor the wait times at each of the city-run sites, with officials saying on Wednesday the wait times are coming down.

The positivity rate in New York City was 6.96 percent on Wednesday. Here, people checked their rapid COVID test results outside of a facility on the Lower East Side

The positivity rate in New York City was 6.96 percent on Wednesday. Here, people checked their rapid COVID test results outside of a facility on the Lower East Side

The positivity rate in New York City was 6.96 percent on Wednesday. Here, people checked their rapid COVID test results outside of a facility on the Lower East Side 

Throughout Manhattan, people lined up for hours to get COVID tests as the Omicron variant continues to spread

Throughout Manhattan, people lined up for hours to get COVID tests as the Omicron variant continues to spread

Throughout Manhattan, people lined up for hours to get COVID tests as the Omicron variant continues to spread

Cases across New York City have surged as Omicron continues to spread throughout the country

Cases across New York City have surged as Omicron continues to spread throughout the country

Cases across New York City have surged as Omicron continues to spread throughout the country

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data Monday night showing that the Omicron variant now accounts for 73 percent of U.S. COVID cases, although its estimated to be causing 93 per cent of infections in New York, New Jersey and three other states. The agency also revised last week’s data, increasing the share of the variant from 2.9 percent to 12.6 percent – a four-fold leap. 

This means the prevalence of the variant jumped six fold week-over-week. It has overtaken the Delta variant, which had been the nation’s dominant strain since July. 

But on Tuesday, Dowling reiterated the idea that the Omicron variant, which is now the predominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States, is not as virulent as other strains even if it is more contagious.

‘If people are not that sick and they’re not in the hospital, you’re building up herd immunity,’ Dowling said, noting: ‘We’re going to have to deal with this over the next couple of months.’

The closures affect three clinics each in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, and four in Manhattan

The closures affect three clinics each in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, and four in Manhattan

The closures affect three clinics each in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens, and four in Manhattan

Hochul said on Wednesday she is focused on keeping kids in school amid the surge, saying that the state will not shut down if proper precautions are taken.

‘We have to keep schools open. This is a challenge,’ the governor said.  ‘We want to make sure after holiday break that kids can safely come back to school.’

One way of doing so, she said, is by having school districts throughout the state implement a Test to Stay policy in which students who are exposed to COVID to stay in school as long as they wear a mask, undergo two COVID tests per week and quarantine while they are not in school. 

They must also remain asymptomatic to return to class. 

The practice has already been implemented in a number of Los Angeles school districts, with the CDC concluding that schools that implemented the strategy had fewer cases of transmission between students and were able to keep students in the classroom more ofte

The Centers for Disease Control now recommends school districts throughout the country implement the Test to Stay strategy, noting that while students above the age of 5 are encouraged to get the COVID vaccine, the Test to Stay strategy could be used to keep unvaccinated students at school, rather than having them quarantine at home.

‘TTS does not appear to increase transmission risk in public schools and might greatly reduce loss of in-person school days,’ the agency concluded in its study, though it noted: ‘Implementation requires resources that might be currently unavailable to some schools.’

And in a press release about the study, the CDC said the testing strategy is a ‘valuable tool in a layered prevention strategy that includes promoting vaccination of eligible students and staff, requiring everyone age 2 and older wear a mask inside schools and facilities, keeping at least three feet of distance between students, screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and staying home when sick.’

Source: Daily Mail

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