The state of New York suffered 97 daily deaths as a result of COVID-19, Governor Kathy Hochul said on Wednesday – marking the highest number since the end of February during the pandemic’s previous winter wave.
State-wide hospital admissions also rose to about 6,700 on Tuesday, up from 6,173 a day earlier, and a staggering 67,000 people tested positive for coronavirus, Hochul said during a Plattsburgh press conference.
The new cases rose 64 percent from the day before, Hochul said, breaking the record of nearly 50,000 set on Christmas Eve.
“We are preparing for an increase in January,” she said.
Tuesday’s 97 deaths represent a 21 percent increase over the 77 registered Monday.
“That’s not the direction we want to go,” Hochul said.
“It’s heartbreaking to know that there will be families who will not see the end of the new year with a loved one.”
Tuesday’s toll was also the state’s highest in 24 hours since Feb. 23, when last winter’s wave of infections subsided.
The seasonal increase caused daily COVID-19 deaths to peak at 202 on January 13th.
Data released by Hochul’s office after her press conference showed that Queens had the highest number of deaths – 13 – in any county in the state on Tuesday.
The district has been described as the “epicenter of the epidemic center” during the first wave of the pandemic, as hospitals were overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The second-highest death toll, 10, was recorded Tuesday in upstate Erie County, which covers Buffalo and where Hochul was previously county secretary.
Hochul said the number of hospital admissions was “a problem area,” though it “is still smaller than we had this time last year.”
The governor also said elective surgery had been suspended at 25 hospitals and that there was an 8 percent increase in hospital capacity across the country, which she called “good news.”
Meanwhile, annual statistics released Wednesday by the city’s Department of Health showed that deaths in the Big Apple rose 51 percent, from 54,559 in 2019 to 82,143 in 2020, largely due to the ravages of COVID-19 as the city became the national epicenter of the pandemic’s first wave.
The total number of births fell 9.4 percent, from 110,442 to 100,022, in the same period, according to the data.