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Hochul: New York is ‘Turning the Corner’ with COVID
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Governor Hochul at SUNY Albany
Credit: New York NOW

“You heard it here first, I’ve been waiting to say that, ‘Turning the corner.’

Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday that the worst of the Omicron wave of coronavirus cases appears to have passed.

“You heard it here first, I’ve been waiting to say that, ‘Turning the corner.’ Look at the the seven-day average of cases starting to decline — 49,027 cases yesterday. Our highest point was how long ago? One week ago,” Hochul said at a briefing with reporters in Albany.

“We had over 90,000 cases one week ago today … That is a very positive trend.”

Because of the highly contagious nature of the Omicron variant, Hochul issued a mandate requiring masks or proof of vaccination for indoor public spaces in mid-December, which is currently in effect until February 1.

When asked about the mandate at Friday’s press conference, Hochul didn’t give any indication of whether or not it would be extended, but did say that the mandate was not a long-term solution.

“We have been putting in what we think are common sense requirements to protect health, but they are all short term,” Hochul said.

“I don’t have the knowledge right now of what it’s going to look like February 1, we can’t do that, so we’re going to keep monitoring the situation to make sure that there’s not a trend that changes quickly. In my opinion, the shorter the better, to allow people to feel liberated from this pandemic.”

Meanwhile the state’s vaccination effort continues. Acting Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said that breakthrough cases aren’t a reason to not get vaccinated.

“You’re far more likely to be hospitalized for COVID if you’re unvaccinated, even though Omicron infections occur among the vaccinated, so that’s really the top line,” Bassett said.

“It is less effective in avoiding transmission, but of course, it’s very important to not have serious COVID, and to avoid hospitalization and death.

As of Friday, the state is reporting that 72.8% of all New Yorkers, including children, have been fully vaccinated.