ALBANY, N.Y. — New York is “turning the corner” on the omicron-fueled winter surge as COVID cases, hospitalizations and the state’s overall positivity rate all fell for the first time in weeks, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday.
The governor touted the precipitous decline of the state’s seven-day average of new cases, which peaked last week over 90,000 and fell to below 50,000, as she delivered the good news.
“Turning the corner, you heard it here first. I’ve been waiting to say it: turning a corner,” Hochul said during a briefing at at University of Albany’s RNA Institute. “Our highest point was a week ago. Highest to lowest in a week thus far and that lowest is going to continue to go down.”
Hospitalizations also fell for the second day in a row, dropping by 245 people to 12,207.
The state’s overall positivity rate plummeted to 16% on Friday, down significantly from the 23% recorded last week, according to State Health Department data.
Still, the state recorded another 177 deaths linked to the virus, a stark reminder that it’s “not time to spike the football,” Hochul said.
“There will come a time when we can say it’s all over,” she added. “We’re not there yet, but boy, it’s on the horizon and we’ve waited a long time for that.”
While New York City-area hospitals are seeing fewer coronavirus cases, some medical centers upstate are “not out of the woods yet,” Hochul said, particularly in areas with lower vaccination rates.
The highly transmissible omicron variant spread across New York and the rest of the nation over the holidays and led spikes in infections and hospitalizations not seen since the early days of the COVID pandemic in early 2020.
Health officials have said New York’s high vaccination rate has helped keep those who did get sick from needing to be treated in intensive care units and lessened the overall impact of the winter wave.