ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York is continuing 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—up 22% from roughly 5,000 for the seven days through November 11.
That’s the highest seven-day average since mid-April. Meanwhile, the latest federal data show 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,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a Saturday statement.
The vast majority of the state’s 62 counties are seeing sharp upticks in new COVID positives: from a 32% increase in cases over the seven days through Thursday on Long Island, to a 37% increase in Niagara County in western New York. And hospitals in New York reported 2,249 confirmed COVID patients as of Friday, up 20% from the previous Friday.
Hospitalization rates are flat in some communities, including Manhattan and Albany. But much of the state, from Saratoga to Erie County, is also seeing sharp increases in hospitalizations. Saratoga, for example, is up to 35 patients with confirmed COVID, nearly triple from 12 patients as of Friday, November 12.
In Central New York, Onondaga County is up to 128 patients—a 33% increase. Monroe County, in the Finger Lakes, is up to 244 patients, up 30%. And hospitals in Erie County reports 227 patients, a 23% increase. These counties include some of New York’s biggest cities—Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo.
Hochul earlier this week warned that a continued uptick in COVID rates could mean New Yorkers will again face more virus protocols in high-risk communities. But the governor hasn’t laid out any specific protocols that she could reinstitute, and she hasn’t offered a threshold for how high rates could rise before she’ll act.
Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat who’s running for governor, released a statement Saturday calling on Hochul to address the spike. She pointed out that large swaths of the state—including much of Central and Western New York, plus the North Country—are seeing higher hospitalization levels than at this point in 2020.
“It is time to act now to save lives,” James stated. “Anything short of bold action is unacceptable.”