NEW YORK (WABC) -- For the first time in weeks, COVID-19 numbers in New York are trending downward -- a signal that the spike fueled by the omicron variant may be starting to wane.
"We might be cresting over that peak," Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Cases are slowing down, rate of increase is slowing down, but they are still high. We are not at the end, but I wanted to say this is, to me, a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of hope at a time we desperately need that."
Still, there were 48,686 new cases reported Monday, along with 160 deaths.
"Every one is one too many," Hochul said. "I look forward to the day when that plummets. Right now, we have an 18.6% statewide positivity. You can watch the trend line. The seven-day average is a little higher, lagging behind."
For the present, however, the reality is that is hospitalizations continue -- which is why non-essential elective procedures remain on hold in central New York. And particularly alarming is the hospitalization of kids.
"91% of 5- to 11-year-olds newly admitted to hospitals are unvaccinated," Hochul said. "Doesn't have to be that way. Preventable."
Hochul said the state is also launching a new advertising campaign, #VaxForKids, to encourage families to get their children vaccinated.
"The best protection for our kids is to ensure they get vaccinated and keep up with all recommended vaccine doses," she said. "As COVID-19 continues to spread, the best armor for our children is the vaccine. It's safe, effective, free, and over a half million children in New York between 5-11 years old have already gotten their first dose so far. With the #VaxForKids campaign, we are doubling down on our efforts to get this critical message out to even more parents and guardians."
The multifaceted effort includes new marketing efforts to reach parents and guardians in English and Spanish on television, radio, and digital, including search and streaming.
The governor also thanked teachers for their commitment and for coming to work. The state has given out 7.6 million tests to schools so far.
Additionally, there is a new test and trace approach. If you test positive, you won't get a call from health department and should instead just follow guidance of isolation and quarantining to avoid infecting others.
Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said the change is to shift from active outreach to more self-management.
"It is almost impossible to do contact tracing the way we have been in the past," Hochul said.
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Despite cases starting to drop, Hochul said there are no plans to lift vaccination or mask mandates in businesses or mask mandates in schools.
"I am so looking forward to, just so you know personally, to lift all these restrictions that were put in place for the right reasons," she said. "I know there will come a time."
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