NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – With the Omicron variant spreading and New York breaking a new record for people testing positive, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled what she called her “Winter Surge Plan 2.0” on Friday.
It means faster testing, sending dozens of new ambulance teams to New York City, and dramatic advocacy for people to get vaccinated.
READ MORE: Connecticut boy badly burned while trying “Whoosh Bottle” challenge on social media
As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reports, the Omicron-induced wave of COVID continues unabated – 76,555 new cases and a 22.5% positivity rate.
FIND TEST SITES: Click here for the New York City test site locatorincluding mobile sites and home appointments
“It’s hardly worth saying we’re breaking records. We are breaking records every day, ”said Hochul.
Hochul made a dramatic appeal to New Yorkers to get vaccinated and boosted as the best way to avoid the worst effects of the disease and avoid hospitalization.
Hochul said most COVID patients in New York City hospitals are not vaccinated.
“The latest data we have is that 30 in 100,000 cases are unvaccinated, compared to 2.1 that are vaccinated,” she said. “If you are vaccinated, you are very unlikely to be hospitalized. “
Governor and Health Commissioner Dr Mary Bassett has also pleaded with parents to get their children vaccinated amid an increase in the number of children in hospital. The week of December 5, 50 children had to be hospitalized. This week so far there have been 299.
READ MORE: New Jersey health officials tell residents not to go to emergency room for COVID test
WATCH: Governor Kathy Hochul presents Winter Surge 2.0 plan
“I think all of us, as a society, recognize the responsibility to protect children,” Bassett said. “We have too many children under 12 who are eligible for vaccination who are not vaccinated. It’s only 17.5%, maybe 18.5% today who are fully vaccinated.
Hochul’s plan includes:
As part of his advocacy for people to get vaccinated and boosted, the governor enlisted a wide range of elected officials, including Senator Chuck Schumer and mayor-elect Eric Adams to give video testimonies. But Representative Tom Suozzi, who is running against Hochul for governor, said the plan was far from enough.
“We have to market boosters every day through TV commercials across the state, hospitals and doctors – not politicians,” Suozzi said.
Suozzi said the state needs to speed up testing sites, including drive-thru services.
Hochul said there were 1,800 testing sites in the state, with 13 more opening this week and six more next week.
NO MORE NEWS: New Jersey deportation moratorium ends Saturday