COVID cases in New York state triple, hit new record on Friday

"It is clear that the omicron variant is here in NYC, in full force."

December 17, 2021, 5:49 PM

New York state reported 21,027 positive COVID test results on Thursday, a new single-day record, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Friday.

This brings the positivity rate in New York to 7.98%. The state also reported 60 new COVID-related deaths over the last two days.

"The winter surge in COVID-19 cases is a reminder that the pandemic is not over yet, and we must take extra care to keep ourselves and each other safe," Hochul said in a statement. "The vaccine is still our best weapon to defeat the virus and ensure we are safe from serious illness. Get the shot if you haven't yet and the booster if you have, mask up, and wash your hands."

PHOTO: People line up at a COVID-19 mobile testing site during the coronavirus disease pandemic in New York, Dec. 17, 2021.
People line up at a COVID-19 mobile testing site during the coronavirus disease pandemic in New York, Dec. 17, 2021.
Carlo Allegri/Reuters

The state also reported 178 confirmed omicron cases. It's likely there are more because only a fraction of positive results are sequenced to determine the strain of the virus.

Last week, as the number of cases began to rise, the state reinstated its indoor mask mandate for businesses or venues that don't implement a vaccine requirement.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering, more than 5.3 million people have died of COVID around the world. The approximately 805,000 Americans killed by the virus are the most in a single country.

PHOTO:A COVID-19 mobile testing site is seen in Times Square, Dec. 17, 2021, in New York.
A COVID-19 mobile testing site is seen in Times Square, Dec. 17, 2021, in New York.
Yuki Iwamura/AP

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan on Thursday to help fight this latest surge. Measures will include distributing half a million rapid home tests through community organizations in addition to 1 million KN95 masks.

"We have seen a very substantial increase in COVID cases in the past few days," the mayor said. "It is clear that the omicron variant is here in NYC, in full force."

"This variant moves fast -- we need to move a lot faster," de Blasio added.

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