Friday, September 30 2022

New York delivered a previously unthinkable level of new COVID cases on Saturday when the governor’s daily report tallied 85,476 positives in a single day.

The exponential trend has shown no signs of slowing since the state broke its previous all-time pandemic record last month. And with home testing available to those who can find it, the true total of positive cases cannot be known.

The continued escalation in positive test results brought the positive test rate to 22.2% and the seven-day average to nearly 20%, the state said.

Meanwhile, hospitalizations continue to climb. As recently as the second week of December, Governor Kathy Hochul assured New Yorkers “this is not March 2020 or even January 2021,” citing admissions totals well below January’s peaks of nearly 9 300.

Statewide COVID hospitalizations have more than doubled since then and now total 8,451, with Hochul adding another 532 to the growing tally on Saturday. For every 100,000 New Yorkers, 30 unvaccinated are currently hospitalized compared to just 2.1 who have received their doses.

About half of those patients are in New York City, where 50 Federal Emergency Management Agency ambulance crews are scheduled to begin arriving early next month, Hochul said. Thirty federal ambulance crews were dispatched earlier to other parts of the state.

Meanwhile, Hochul sends another 50 members of the New York National Guard to reinforce the 50 already there to help with non-medical duties at health facilities. Across the state, they are grappling not only with an increasing workload, but also with staffing pressures as workers are sick or in quarantine.

The governor began deploying members of the National Guard to help in nursing homes and long-term care facilities about a month ago.

A 35-member federal medical assistance team is expected to arrive next week at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, and a team of about 20 members at Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, said State Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray.

Federal ambulance crews and additional members of the National Guard are heading to New York, and western New York hospitals are receiving more federal aid, as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise , state officials said Friday.

Hochul also announced that students at State Universities and the City University of New York will need to get a coronavirus shot to be on campus in the spring semester and must provide a negative test before returning from vacation.

“We are being hit very hard,” by the latest surge, largely due to the omicron variant of the virus, said Hochul, a Democrat.

The recall requirement for state and city college students echoes steps some colleges have taken elsewhere. The New York rule goes into effect Jan. 15, with the understanding that some students may have been vaccinated too recently to be eligible for boosters. They will need to get the boosters once eligible.

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