Gov. Kathy Hochul declared Friday that New York was “turning the corner” in the battle against COVID-19 — with hospitalizations now starting to decline amid the Omicron-fueled surge.
The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the Empire State was at 12,207 on Thursday after dropping for two consecutive days, the latest state data shows.
The recent spike in cases is also now trending downward with 49,027 new infections recorded Thursday — down from the record high of more than 90,000 just one week ago.
The 16.3 percent positivity rate has steadily dropped from the peak 23.17 percent on Jan. 3.
Despite hailing the “long awaited, much anticipated decline” in hospitalizations and infections across New York state, Gov. Hochul warned “this is no time to spike the football.”
“We still need to remain vigilant,” she said during a press briefing in Albany.
“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.”
She added: “There will come a time when it is all over. We are not there yet. But boy, it is on the horizon, and we’ve waited a long time for that.”
There were 195 deaths recorded Thursday, which was up slightly from the 177 recorded a day earlier.
More than 62,800 New Yorkers have died of COVID throughout the pandemic, state data shows.
Gov. Hochul said deaths, which are a lagging indicator, would likely soon follow the downward trend seen in hospitalizations and cases.
Given the declining data, Hochul said she was eager to eliminate indoor mask mandates when the Omicron variant no longer poses a threat.
She called the mask mandate as a “short term” necessity, adding that she wants to “make people feel liberated” as soon as possible.