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#NYC hospitalizations up ‘intensely’ in last two weeks as Omicron surges

#NYC hospitalizations up ‘intensely’ in last two weeks as Omicron surges

New York City’s hospitalization rate more than doubled during the past two weeks — with the number of patients suspected of suffering from COVID-19 spiking “intensely,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday.

The most recent data show the seven-day average number of people hospitalized per 100,000 hit 3.7 on Christmas Day, up from fewer than 1.5 on Dec. 12, according to a chart the mayor displayed during a remote briefing from City Hall.

De Blasio said 296 patients in hospital beds were believed to be infected with the coronavirus amid the ongoing spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

“So, this has just gone up intensely,” he said.

De Blasio also said the latest daily report showed 17,343 new positive test results in the city, which he called a “staggering figure” that should serve as “a powerful, powerful reminder — once again — to get everyone vaccinated, everyone boosted as quickly as possible.”

Statewide, hospitalizations surged 11 percent in just one day, from 4,891 on Christmas to 5,526 on Sunday, Gov. Kathy Hochul said.

Ambulances.
A total of 296 patients in hospital beds are believed to be infected with the coronavirus.
Stephen Yang

A regional breakdown showed New York City leading the state in new hospital admissions, with more than 1,800 on Friday, compared to about 1,000 on Dec. 18, according to state Health Department figures.

Meanwhile, the Big Apple also had the highest positivity rate — 262 per 100,000 tests — followed by Long Island, with a rate of 221 per 100,000.

Statewide, the rate was 181 per 100,000, with Buffalo and the western New York region averaging just 69 per 100,000.

COVID testing.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also said the latest daily report showed 17,343 new positive test results in the city.
Ted Shaffrey/AP

Before Omicron struck, New York City had the state’s lowest positivity rate while upstate areas were struggling with new cases.

Both de Blasio and Hochul tried to downplay the surge in hospitalizations by comparing it to previous waves of the pandemic, with the mayor saying that “our hospitals are doing remarkably well.”

“We have real challenges but what’s striking is how different, thank God — how different the Omicron experience is than even last winter, let alone the spring of 2020,” he said.

Medical worker.
Before Omicron struck, New York City had the state’s lowest positivity rate.
Stephen Yang

But Dr. Ayman El-Mohandes, dean of the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy in Manhattan, said the latest figures were worrisome.

“Our health care system is not designed to operate in emergency mode all the time,” he said.

“We need to protect our health care system and our communities.”

COVID testing line.
New York City has a COVID-19 positivity rate of 262 per 100,000 tests.
Stephen Yang

El-Mohandes said the predominance of COVID cases, even if they’re not as severe as during prior outbreaks, threatened to keep other people from seeking or getting the medical treatment they need for other illnesses.

El-Mohandes also called for a deeper dive into the hospitalization data, saying he suspects that many of the sickest patients haven’t been vaccinated.

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