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Health

Hochul warns of January COVID-19 surge as case counts rise

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Kevin P. Coughlin
/
Office of the Governor
Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks with healthcare workers at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown on December 29, 2021

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul warned Wednesday of a January surge in COVID-19 infections as hospitalizations from the virus continued to rise.

More than 67,000 people tested positive for COVID-19 across the state on Tuesday, Hochul said, and about 6,700 were hospitalized with the virus — 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 in Plattsburgh in northern New York. “We know it’s coming and we’re naive to think it won’t.”

Hochul said that that because New Yorkers have traveled over the holidays and been exposed to people outside of their households “we do think 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-19 patients, Hochul said.

New COVID-19 cases across the United States have risen to their highest level on record at over 265,000 per day on average, a surge driven largely by the omicron variant.