New York shatters COVID record with 38,000 new cases

The state recorded over 38,000 positive coronavirus cases on Thursday — shattering the previous day’s record by a whopping 10,000 cases, as New Yorkers rush to get swabbed before the holidays.

Total positives hit a new statewide high of 38,835 cases among a record number of 324,786 individuals tested in a single day, according to new data released by the state Department of Health. 

That’s up from Wednesday’s reported 28,924 cases out of 271,290 tests taken. 

“We are experiencing the winter surge, and numbers are expected to rise. You can also expect to reduce your chance of severe illness from COVID-19 if you get vaccinated and if you get the booster,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul in a statement. 

Nearly 325,000 tests were distributed in single day, according to the state Department of Health.
Helayne Seidman
Covid testing in New York
The state expects the number of new cases to continue rising as more people get tested.
Helayne Seidman

The new data from the state also shows the number of cases in New York City continues to explode — with a record 22,808 new cases on Thursday alone. 

The staggering stats come as new data from New York City shows that unvaccinated New Yorkers are now six times more likely than vaccinated New Yorkers to contract the coronavirus — and more than ten times more likely to end up in the hospital.

Those tentative findings come analysis of cases from Dec. 5 through Dec. 11 by the Big Apple’s Health Department, which covers the first week of the Omicron surge. 

That’s a dramatic turn from the already bad odds unvaccinated New Yorkers faced before Omicron’s arrival, when they were about 3.4 times as likely to catch the virus and 8.6 times as likely to get sick enough to warrant a trip to the hospital. 

Woman taking her COVID-19 test
The high level of vaccinations in New York have helped the city’s public and private hospitals from being overcrowded.
Getty Images
Handing out covid tests
Gov. Hochul urged residents to get the vaccine and the booster if they have not done so yet.
Paul Martinka

So far, officials have been able to avoid the tsunami of critically ill patients that crushed the Big Apple’s hospitals during the spring and winter of 2020, before the rollout of the vaccines. 

Hospitalizations increased slightly with 4,534 patients statewide — marking 82 more patients than the day prior — and of that figure, 837 patients have been admitted to an intensive care unit.

Health experts say the high levels of vaccination in the five boroughs have helped to protect the city’s public and private hospitals from a crush of patients. 

Upstate hospitals, where inoculation rates are lower, have not been as lucky.

Giving away covid tests
State officials plan to give free at-home COVID-19 tests, increasing demand.
Paul Martinka

Hochul issued an executive order earlier this month that hospitals at or with less than 10 percent available bed capacity must pause nonessential elective surgeries so as to free up space. As of the most recent data from the DOH, 28 hospitals statewide have hit that 10 percent threshold.

To counter the surge, state officials are planning to distribute 36 million free take-home COVID-19 tests, Hochul announced on Wednesday.

The governor also said this week the state would be opening testing facilities in subway stations to bring even more testing capacity to the city. 

COVID testing
The governor said NY is looking to increase testing so there are more places for NYers to go to.
Helayne Seidman

Meanwhile, the state’s death toll kept growing.

Another 63 New Yorkers lost their lives to the deadly disease, adding to the 47,798 death toll recorded by the state’s DOH, which includes people who died in hospitals, nursing homes and adult care facilities.

But the Empire State’s death toll is actually much larger — 60,689 individuals — as reported by the Centers for Disease Control, which includes death certificate data from state and city health officials.