New York doesn’t expect ‘cool spike’ from option

On Monday, a senior New York City health official said he does not expect a large spike in COVID-19 cases in the state as a new sub-variant of the virus becomes more prevalent.

The omicron variant of BA.2, commonly known as the “invisible omicron”, currently accounts for 42% of all cases in New York, according to state health commissioner Mary Bassett.

Even with this shift, “we don’t expect a spike in cases in New York State,” Bassett said Monday at a briefing in Albany with Gov. Katie Hochul.

She said that so far, the state has not seen such a sharp growth rate as in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe.

New York State averaged about 2,100 new cases of COVID-19 per day last week, according to state health officials. This is 32% more than the previous week.

State data does not include COVID-19 home test results.

The number of patients seriously ill with COVID-19 has been declining since early January, when nearly 12,700 people were hospitalized. As of Sunday, that number had dropped to around 900.

New York, like other states, reduced or canceled some of its COVID-19 precautions this month as the spike in winter cases caused by the omicron variant abated. This included getting rid of mandatory masks for students and teachers in schools.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s administration announced last month that the state would not enforce its mandate to require healthcare workers to get booster shots due to concerns about a shortage of staff.

About 57% of the approximately 146,000 nursing home employees across New York City were fully vaccinated by booster as of mid-March, up from 43% in mid-February.

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