PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (AP/WFFF) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul warned Wednesday of a January surge in COVID infections as hospitalizations from the virus continued to rise. Over 67,000 people tested positive across the state on Tuesday, she said, and about 6,700 were hospitalized with the virus.
That’s more than double the number in hospitals a month ago when the highly contagious omicron variant first emerged as a variant of concern. Hochul urged New Yorkers to keep New Year’s Eve celebrations small in order to prevent further spread of the virus.
“We’re basically preparing for a January surge,” the Democratic governor said after touring a vaccination site at Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh. “We know it’s coming and we’re naive to think it won’t.”
Hochul said that because New Yorkers have traveled over the holidays and been exposed to people outside of their households, “There’s going to be a spike in cases that’s going to continue, not just in our positive rates but also in hospitalizations.”
Some 25 hospitals statewide have suspended elective surgeries to clear space for COVID patients, Hochul said. New COVID cases across the U.S. have risen to their highest level on record at over 265,000 per day on average, a surge driven largely by the omicron variant.
During the North Country trip, Hochul visited nurses and business owners, saying “I really needed to leave the capital, where I have been very focused on our COVID response and reporting to the public, but sometimes you wake up and say, ‘I need to see the people who are on the front lines.'”
Hochul said Clinton County will receive 35,000 N-95 masks. She also said that by Monday, she plans to implement a test-to-stay program and distribute 22,000 tests to North Country schools. “That’s why we wanted to have 3,000 of those test kits for Clinton County, and more to come,” she said. She also touted the state’s effort in ordering 37 million test kits, which will soon be available.