As the omicron variant continues to fuel the COVID-19 winter rise over New York, figures released by the state on Sunday provide some evidence that the wave may be slowing.
For the first time since mid-December, state COVID-19 hospital admissions – which have been steadily rising for several weeks – fell by nearly 100 patients to 11,747 on Saturday.
The daily percentage of new positive cases across the state showed a slight decrease for the third day in a row to 19.87%. The number represents 79,777 new positive COVID-19 cases from 401,466 test results on Saturday.
Long Island’s seven-day percentage of positive cases, consistently the highest in the state, also fell slightly to 25.95% – from 26.46%.
“The good news is that the number of people hospitalized with COVID seems to be flattening out now as expected,” said Dr. David Battinelli, executive vice president and chief physician at New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health.
Battinelli said the omicron track in South Africa was a big climb, followed by a steep fall in cases. In the United States, the waves can unfold at different times in different states.
New statistics released Sunday also show that 58% of COVID-19 positive hospitalized patients were hospitalized due to the disease or complications from it. The remaining 42% were hospitalized for other reasons but tested positive for COVID.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said last week that she has asked hospitals to break down their corona admissions on a daily basis to better define the hospitalized population. The percentage of COVID-19-positive patients admitted for complications of the disease on Long Island was higher by 63%.
Battinelli said everyone admitted to Northwell’s hospitals has been tested for COVID-19. Although the patient is not seriously ill with the disease, they require the use of additional resources and capabilities, including solitary confinement and personal protective equipment.
“The person who came in for the orthopedic procedure or heart attack would not normally be exposed [these],” he said.
Nassau County accounted for 6,668 of the new COVID-19 cases Saturday, and 6,796 were in Suffolk County.
The state recorded 138 coronavirus deaths Saturday, including 11 in Nassau County and 13 in Suffolk County.
Federal health officials warned Sunday that death rates and hospitalizations could continue to rise because the omicron variant is so contagious.
“Given the amount of cases we see with omicron, we may well see death rates rise dramatically,” said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, on “Fox News Sunday.”
Walensky said the majority of hospitalized patients, including children, are unvaccinated and people who are vaccinated get coronavirus at a slower rate.
“If you are unvaccinated, you are 17 times more likely to stay in the hospital and 20 times more likely to die than if you are boosted,” she said.
Over the weekend, 160,000 home COVID-19 test kits were handed out to residents of Tobay Beach and Eisenhower Park, according to Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.
Positive cases among healthcare professionals and other COVID-related issues continue to affect some facilities. Following a temporary closure, a ProHEALTH Urgent Care facility at 257 West Park Ave. in Long Beach reopened with extended opening hours. It was not immediately clear how long the place was closed, but from Monday to Monday it would be open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 5pm on weekends.
No appointment is required and walk-in is welcome, according to the ProHEALTH website.
With Rachelle Blidner and Vera Chinese
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What to know
The number of COVID-19 patients admitted in New York State fell slightly Saturday to 11,747.
New figures from the state show 58% of COVID-19 hospitalized patients were hospitalized due to the disease or its complications, while 42% were hospitalized for other reasons and tested positive during screening.
Federal health officials warned Sunday of the death rates and admissions may continue to increase because the omicron variant is so contagious.