ALBANY, NY (AP) — New York continues to see an increase in COVID cases and hospitalizations as the holiday season approaches, according to the latest state data released Saturday. Nearly 6,100 people a day are now testing positive for COVID statewide — a 22% increase from about 5,000 over the seven days through Nov. 11.
That is the highest seven-day average since mid-April. Meanwhile, the latest federal data shows that more than two-thirds of New Yorkers are fully vaccinated. “There is one simple solution to ensure New Yorkers can enjoy a safe holiday season — get vaccinated if you haven’t already and get a booster shot if you have,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement. from Saturday.
The vast majority of the state’s 62 counties are seeing a sharp rise in the number of new COVID positives: from a 32% increase in cases during the seven days through Thursday in Long Island to a 37% increase in Niagara County in western New York. And New York hospitals reported 2,249 confirmed COVID patients on Friday, 20% more than the Friday before.
Hospital admissions are flat in some communities, including Manhattan and Albany. But much of the state, from Saratoga to Erie County, is also seeing a sharp rise in hospitalizations. Saratoga, for example, is up to 35 patients with confirmed COVID, nearly triple from 12 patients on Friday, Nov. 12.
In central New York, Onondaga County has up to 128 patients – a 33% increase. Monroe County, in the Finger Lakes, has up to 244 patients, a 30% increase. And hospitals in Erie County report 227 patients, a 23% increase. These counties include some of New York’s largest cities: Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo.
Hochul warned earlier this week that a continued rise in COVID rates could mean New Yorkers will once again have to deal with more virus protocols in high-risk communities. But the governor hasn’t established any specific protocols she could reinstate, and she hasn’t offered a threshold on how high rates could rise before taking action.
Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat running for governor, released a statement on Saturday calling on Hochul to deal with the spike. She pointed out that large areas of the state — including much of central and western New York, plus the north of the country — are seeing higher hospital admissions than they are currently in 2020.
“It’s time to act now to save lives,” James declared. “Anything less than bold action is unacceptable.”