ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Kathy Hochul hosted a COVID-19 briefing Friday afternoon at University of Albany’s RNA Institute to update New Yorkers on the state’s ongoing pandemic response efforts.
The governor began the briefing by warning New Yorkers of upcoming severe weather statewide, including “dangerously low temperatures” Friday night into the weekend along with a projected snowstorm from Sunday night into Monday across New York. The governor urged residents to pay attention to local forecasts as the weather is subject to change depending on location.
Regarding COVID, the governor said New York is beginning to “turn the corner.”
“I’ve been waiting to say it: Turning a corner,” Gov. Hochul said. “The seven-day average of cases is starting to decline. Less than 50,000 today, our highest point one week ago was over 90,000. So very good news to see that.”
The governor also said there is improvement in terms of statewide COVID hospitalizations.
“We are starting to see a decline of our hospitalizations,” Gov. Hochul said. “Down about 245 since the day before. So more people are out of hospitals, but we’re still at 12,000. That is still very high, but this will eventually catch up with the cases trend, we know hospitalizations is a lagging indicator.”
Despite the signs of progress, the governor reminded New Yorkers that the pandemic is still ongoing, urging residents to get vaccinated, boosted, and wear quality masks while in public.
Earlier this week, the governor announced that COVID-10 contact tracing would no longer be required by the New York State Department of Health, but added that local health departments could continue contact tracing efforts if they chose to do so.
The governor, along with New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, said that given the volume of new cases brought on by the omicron surge that previous resources for contact tracing would be better served for testing and vaccination programs.
When asked if the state would extend the current mask or vax mandate for public venues, the governor said she would assess the situation as it gets closer.
“I don’t have the knowledge right now of what’s going to happen on February 1,” Gov. Hochul said. “we’re going to monitor the situation and make sure there’s not a trend that changes things quickly.”
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.