BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB/WROC) — On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Kathy Hochul was back home in Erie County to deliver the latest updates on COVID. From Erie County Medical Center, the governor announced that 5 million more at-home COVID tests will come to New York by New Year’s Eve.

The governor began her briefing by thanking President Joe Biden, who pledged 30 ambulances with health care staff to be sent to Upstate areas and new mass testing sites to come online. This assistance is in addition to previously announced rapid at-home tests to be delivered directly to Americans.

Hochul said New York has ordered take-home tests too, with 5 million scheduled for delivery by December 31. The governor said that 2 million of those tests will be earmarked for school districts, 1 million for county emergency managers, 1.6 million for New York City, and 400,000 for state vaccination sites.

Hochul said she’s prioritizing keeping schools open. She added that any county can implement “test to stay,” and that at-home COVID tests will help counties with those critical testing resources. “We saw how devastating this experiment was, in having children work remotely,” she said. “The stress was on the teachers and the parents. We just can’t set these kids back again.”

More so than the general number of infected people, Hochul says one of her main points of focus in the pandemic has been the number of people being hospitalized. During the conference, she noted that we have the resources we need to stay ahead of the virus—masks and vaccines.

The governor said the case rates statewide are going “vertical” as the latest surge continues. The state’s average new case rates per 100,000 residents per region over the past week, according to the governor, are as follows:

“It’s going straight up,” Gog. Hochul said. “We had 28,924 new cases yesterday. Another day we’re breaking records.” The governor noted that hospitalizations statewide are also increasing recently:

“We’re not panicking,” Hochul said. “We have the resources we need. We have vaccines, we have boosters. We have people who are being smart. It is not March 2020.”

The state’s vaccination progress, according to the governor’s office, is as follows:

  • 32,693,260 total doses administered
  • 144,541 doses administered in past 24 hours
  • 94.6% of New Yorkers 18 and older with at least one dose
  • 82.4% of New Yorkers 18 and older fully vaccinated
  • 74.7% of New Yorkers 12-17 with at least one dose
  • 65.8% of New Yorkers 12-17 fully vaccinated
  • 26.2% of New Yorkers 5-11 with at least one dose
  • 15.4% of New Yorkers 5-11 full vaccinated