Governor Hochul warns of new COVID-19 variants, hospital admissions up

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Governor Kathy Hochul gave New Yorkers an update on COVID-19 as new variants contribute to a surge in hospitalizations in parts of New York state and across the country on Saturday. Hochul said hospitalizations are up in 2023 compared to the same period last summer.

As social gatherings increase during the summer months and high temperatures force people indoors, Hochul reminds New Yorkers to get tested if they experience symptoms, follow standard precautions including current CDC guidelines, stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, and seek appropriate treatment as needed.

“While we are well below pandemic numbers, we are closely monitoring activity related to the latest variants,” Hochul said. “By following the guidelines and taking simple precautions, New Yorkers can continue to enjoy a safe and healthy summer.”

According to Hochul, hospital admissions due to COVID-19 are significantly higher than in the same period last year, but significantly lower than in the same period in 2022.

  • On July 3, 2024the seven-day average for newly reported COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state was 0.72 per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • On July 3, 2023the seven-day average for newly reported COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state was 0.31 per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • On July 3, 2022the seven-day average for newly reported COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state was 1.66 per 100,000 inhabitants.

“We are seeing an increase in hospitalizations, but they are still lower than last year’s increases. As people go indoors to escape the heat, transmission is increasing. This is a good opportunity to remind people to improve indoor ventilation where possible,” said Dr. James McDonald, commissioner of the New York State Department of Health. “In addition, the standing order I signed last year is still in effect, so anyone who wants an updated vaccine can get one at their pharmacy.”

People with symptoms should get tested for COVID-19, and those who test positive should contact their health care provider about possible treatments, which have been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of serious outcomes. Hochul said New Yorkers who are immunocompromised, have lung or cardiovascular disease, or other risk factors, and older adults are especially encouraged to discuss COVID-19 treatments with a health care provider. Those who test positive should also avoid contact with others, including staying home from work, school and social activities.

“The availability of home testing has led to a significant decline in the number of tests sent to laboratories, and researchers at New York State’s Wadsworth Lab are increasingly relying on wastewater analysis to monitor circulating COVID-19 lines,” Hochul said. “Federal and state surveillance of wastewater is pointing to the growing presence of new variants, both in New York and across the country, which are believed to be one of several potential drivers of current trends in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates, including increased travel and social mixing.”

COVID-19 home testing is still available at many local pharmacies across the state. Hochul said the COVID-19 vaccine remains one of the best prevention steps and has been shown to reduce the risk of severe illness. Anyone who has not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine or boosters is encouraged to do so.

Under the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines with no copays required. People who are uninsured or whose plans don’t cover the updated vaccine can access the vaccinations at no cost through community health centers; local, tribal or territorial health departments; and pharmacies participating in HHS’s Bridge Access Program.

Leave a Comment