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New York Expands Covid Testing As Case Count Rises

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New York Expands Covid Testing As Case Count Rises

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Six million coronavirus tests will be delivered by air to school districts in New York on Tuesday, 13 new state-run testing sites will open on Wednesday, and five additional MTA stations will host testing sites on Thursday, state officials said. during a press briefing on Monday, as New York recorded tens of thousands of coronavirus cases per day.

The state reported 26,737 new cases on Sunday and 36,454 new cases on Saturday, Christmas Day. Those numbers were down from the peak of 44,431 cases reported on Friday, the highest single-day figure since the start of the pandemic (although testing was severely limited in the first months of the virus spreading. ).

The number of cases has declined in part because testing typically drops on weekends and fewer people are getting tested because of the holidays. But they’re still much higher than they were before this month, when the Omicron variant began to ravage the state.

Gov. Kathy Hochul said on Monday that vaccines and boosters are helping to lessen the impact of this latest wave. “We have tools at our disposal and the question is how we deploy them,” said Ms. Hochul.

State officials are sending six million tests to schools to monitor and hopefully curb the spread of the virus. Two million of those tests will go to New York.

Pediatric hospitalizations with Covid-19 have more than doubled in the past three weeks statewide, and they have almost quintupled over the same period in New York City, from 22 to 109, according to Dr Mary Bassett, New York State’s health commissioner said Monday.

Officials said they hoped sharing the numbers would encourage parents to get their children vaccinated so schools don’t have to close due to an outbreak.

Ms Bassett said immunization rates among children aged 5 to 11 were “uncomfortably low”. Only 16.4% of children in this age group in New York City are fully immunized and 27.3% have received a dose of the vaccine.

School districts with the state’s highest case rates will receive their tests earlier in the week, officials said Monday.

“We want to make sure these schools stay open,” Ms. Hochul said. “We understand that it is not a good option to say that the children are going to come home again.”

State officials also hope that new guidelines regarding periods of isolation will keep adults in their workplaces.

Fully vaccinated essential workers who test positive can now return to work after five days, Hochul announced last week. But these workers must be asymptomatic or their symptoms must be “resolved” – for example, they have not had a fever for 72 hours – and they must wear a mask.

“I just want to be very clear that this is not about sacking sick people to work,” Dr Bassett said. “People who are sick all the time shouldn’t be at work, and these days, in particular, people who are sick shouldn’t go to work. “

The state’s guidelines go beyond guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which has reduced the period of isolation to seven days, and only for health workers who test positive, regardless of their immunization status.

Ms Hochul also said on Monday that she would not implement a vaccination mandate for MTA workers, in part because nearly 80 percent have been vaccinated and because they do not have close contact with them. people.

She also said she didn’t want a vaccination warrant resulting in service disruptions.

“In the meantime, we can’t do anything that can create a dynamic where there are no trains picking up people for their work in the morning or bringing healthcare workers to their work in hospitals,” he said. she declared.

State officials will open five test sites at the following MTA stations on Thursday: Penn Station (Manhattan), Broadway Junction (Brooklyn), E. 180th St (Bronx), Roosevelt Ave (Queens) and Jamaica-179th St (Queens) ). The Times Square and Grand Central sites opened on Monday.

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