Hospitalizations for the coronavirus are rising steeply in New York State, approaching the peak of last winter’s surge and driving the number of deaths reported in a single day above 100 for the first time since last March, Gov. Monday’s announcement was made by Kathy Hochul.
Hospitalizations have now surpassed last winter’s peak in New York City, the governor said. She added that there were some signs that this wave of hospitalizations may not be as severe as past surges, but she said the rapid rise was still “a trend that is troubling.”
“We’re not in a good place, I’m going to be really honest with you,” Ms. Hochul said at a news briefing in Rochester, as she announced additional testing sites and the arrival of millions of rapid tests to help schools stay open through the virus spike.
New York City is being closely watched as it is one of the first areas to be affected by Omicron. It is also a beacon for the rest of the country. Omicron was first reported in New York City a month ago, and led to an enormous surge in new cases, from less than 2,500 per day to nearly 50,000 per day on New Year’s Eve.
But in the past 10 days, hospitalizations have started to rise even more steeply than cases in New York City, leaping 130 percent between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, compared to a 60 percent rise in cases over the same period, state data shows.
More than 4,500 people were admitted to the city’s hospitals, 500 of whom were in intensive care units. A state-wide total of nearly 9,000 people were in hospital, and 103 people died on Sunday.
The number of Covid patients in New York City intensive care units is still lower than the peak of last winter’s surge, before vaccines were widely available, when about 750 people were in intensive care. Hospitalizations are still much lower than they were when Covid-19 struck New York City in spring 2020. 12,000 people were admitted to hospital on the worst days, with 3,000 in intensive care.
According to state data, Covid-19 is more common in unvaccinated persons than in vaccinated. In the week ending December 20, the rate at which unvaccinated people were hospitalized for Covid was 30 per 100,000. This compares to the 2 per 100,000 rate for fully vaccinated.
Hospitalizations are expected to further reduce a system that has already been weakened by the pandemic and infections. Hospitals are now preparing for emergency staffing. More than 20 hospitals throughout the state have been told to stop performing elective surgery because they lack the ability to do them.
Ms. Hochul stated that 20 to 50 percent of her Covid patients do not have severe symptoms. However, she was told by hospital executives that these patients are testing positive in the hospital after being admitted for other reasons, such as car accidents.
As a result, beginning Tuesday, the state will begin to ask hospitals to break down how many patients are being admitted for acute Covid-19 symptoms, in an effort to further decipher this wave’s severity.
“I just want to always want to be honest with New Yorkers about how bad this is,” Ms. Hochul said. “Yes, the sheer numbers of people infected are high, but I want to see if hospitalizations are correlated to that.”
Schools are open in New York City, as well as in most of the state, on Monday. Masks are still available in certain fully vaccinated settings. Some are calling on the state and city for more help to slow down hospitalizations.
Mark Levine, Manhattan Borough President, urged policymakers to urge people to work at home and avoid large gatherings in the coming weeks. a 16-point planHe released Monday.
“Hospitalizations in NYC are rising faster than at any point since March 2020,” he wrote on Twitter. “We can’t just accept this. We have to do more to slow this wave.”
Source: NY Times