Covid cases stabilize in New York

A month after the Omicron wave started, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said on Tuesday there was a sign of hope on the horizon and the rate of new coronavirus cases in New York had started. to cap.

Yet, she said, with the number of cases continuing to rise elsewhere in the state and a growing number of hospitals forced to limit elective procedures as a result, it would be premature to declare victory over the wave of current virus.

“It looks like we may be reaching that peak,” Hochul said during her daily press briefing, before adding, “Cases are slowing down, the rate of increase is slowing, but they are still high.”

According to data compiled by the New York Times, the seven-day average of new cases in New York City fell to 40,150 on Monday from 40,526 on Sunday.

“We are not at the end of the day,” Hochul said, while calling the latest figures “a beacon of hope at a time when we desperately need it”.

Other data provided a potentially sobering counterpoint to Ms. Hochul’s optimism. Nearly one in five viral tests reported in New York continue to come back positive, according to state records. The number of cases continues to rise in some neighboring states, including Massachusetts and Connecticut, according to a New York Times database.

And although the number of cases in New Jersey shows signs of stabilizing, Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday extended a state of emergency declaration that allows state officials and others to continue to demand the port masks in schools and daycare. centers. (Ms Hochul previously extended New York’s requirement to wear masks in all public places that do not require vaccination until the end of January.)

Ms Hochul also acknowledged that much of New York City is not doing as well as New York City. Statewide, 12,540 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 on Monday and 160 have died. By way of comparison, on Friday 11,548 people were hospitalized and 155 died.

“The north of the state continues to increase, without a doubt,” said Ms Hochul of the number of cases, adding: “The north of the state is about two weeks behind in the north of the state. . “

The increase prompted hospitals in the Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley and central New York areas to cancel elective surgeries – a measure which Ms Hochul said would remain in effect for the next two weeks.

In further recognition of the speed at which the Omicron variant continues to spread, state health commissioner Dr Mary T. Bassett told Tuesday’s briefing that New York would no longer need the local health departments to conduct contact tracing for virus cases.

“Omicron is very contagious and has a very short incubation period,” said Dr Bassett. For this reason, she added, there was “a very short window of intervention to disrupt transmission, which is the purpose of contact tracing.”

The move will allow the state to redirect resources to testing and vaccination efforts, which will further help combat the spread of the virus, officials said.

Some health departments, such as the one in Rockland County, had already halted their research efforts following the spike caused by Omicron.

“Due to the recent increase, the Department of Health will not be able to reach all residents positive for Covid-19 through contact tracing,” said Dr Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Health Commissioner of the county, in a statement last week. Instead, she encouraged residents to use online self-service forms and contact a doctor if they needed medical attention.

Ms Hochul said individual counties could still do contact tracing if they wished, but they would no longer be required to do so. Instead, the state plans to create a website offering advice to New Yorkers on how to self-isolate.

“If you are not feeling well, please stay home,” Ms. Hochul said. “Watch football, watch whatever you wanna watch, but just – be careful.”

When asked at the briefing if she would consider a remote option for state employees, the governor said all employees should stay home if they feel sick, but she doesn’t think she is. not that a broad return to remote work was necessary given the wide availability of testing.

Lisa Waananen and Sharon Otterman contributed reporting.

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