ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As cases of COVID-19 begin to level off in New York, hospitalizations lag behind and continue to surge in several regions.

“All of the hospitals really still have the capacity to care for the emergent needs of the community,” said Dr. Steven Hanks.

As COVID cases continue to spike, Dr. Hanks from St. Peter’s Health Partners says those numbers can be deceiving.

While the numbers are up, it’s a different story when it comes to hospitalizations.  

Dr. Hanks says it’s because the Omicron variant has proven to be less dangerous.

“There is a lower proportion of patients requiring mechanical ventilation with the omicron surge compared to our previous surges.”

He says the use of ventilators has gone down last year from 8% to just below 6%. The length of staying at the hospital has also been shortened.

“We were averaging a length of stay of between 10-11 days and it’s down now to somewhere between 8-9 days.”

The peak number of COVID patients at St. Peter’s at a time was 191. On Wednesday, Dr. Hanks says they are 145.

As of Wednesday, they have 39 hospital beds available and 20 beds available in the ICU.

While the hospital is in good shape, there are some reasons for concern.

“Hospitalizations tend to lag with the case numbers, so it’s likely that our peak in hospitalizations won’t be for another 2-3 weeks,” said Dr. Hanks.

Dr. Hanks says their main issue continues to be staffing shortages.

St. Peter’s has lowered their visitation to one visitor per patient per day.

However, Dr. Hanks says they are still able to meet the needs of the community.

“So, if you need to deliver a baby, or have surgery, you can safely have your surgery.”