NY's COVID-19 Positivity Rate Declines: 'We're Turning A Corner'

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  • Kathy Hochul
    Governor of New York

LONG ISLAND, NY — New York is seeing a decline in coronavirus positivity rates for the first time since the omicron-fueled surge sent cases spiraling upward this winter, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday.

"We have very good news today," Hochul said. "We are turning the corner on the winter surge."

Over the past 24 hours, 49,027 new COVID-19 cases were reported, down from more than 90,000 new cases one week ago, as the seven-day rolling average began to decline, Hochul said.

The number of new hospitalizations was down 245 to 12,207 over the past 24 hours, Hochul said, with 177 deaths reported; those numbers are lagging a bit behind in reporting, she said.

On Friday, the state's positivity rate stood at 16.30 percent, down from its peak of 23 percent on January 3, Hochul said. On Long Island, the rate of positivity was 22.17 percent, compared to 26.58 percent on January 6.

"This is a very positive trend and I believe we will be able to keep that going," Hochul said. "Thank you for hanging in there."

The decline is due to New Yorkers who got vaccinated and boosted, and wore masks, despite some griping, she said: "You've all done the right thing. That is why we will be at the forefront of states seeing a long-awaited and much-anticipated decline."

Although hospitalizations are still a concern in some areas in the state, in New York City and on Long Island, those numbers are trending down, Hochul said.

Testing is still critical and New York has now secured 64 million rapid tests, with 15 million distributed and an additional 2 million expected to be sent out to schools on Wednesday and Thursday, Hochul said.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Acting Commissioner Jackie Bray said federal help in dealing with the omicron variant was ongoing, with federal disaster medical teams in Buffalo and Syracuse and President Joe Biden announcing an additional two on the way by the end of the month to Brooklyn and the Bronx.

There are already 80 ambulance teams, each with two first responders and an ambulance, already deployed to New York, with 30 in the western and central regions and 50 serving the downstate area — and 30 additional teams arriving on Sunday, for a total of 110 teams.

Especially in areas upstate, those teams allow for patients to be transferred long distances; EMTs can stay with the patients until they are admitted to the hospital to free up EMS services, Bray said. Downstate, the federal teams are integrated into the 911 response process, to keep the city's EMS calls and 911 response teams on time and available.

Open enrollment in the state's health insurance plans will be extended again until June 16, Hochul said.

Despite the positive news, Hochul said New Yorkers should not get complacent. "This is no time to spike the football, we still need to remain vigilant. So let's continue to use the tools we know will help stop the spread and keep ourselves safe: get the vaccine, get the booster, wear a mask, and stay home if you're feeling sick. Let's continue to do the right thing and we will get through this together."

This article originally appeared on the East Hampton Patch

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