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New York's COVID Rate Lowest Since December; CDC Report Suggests Omicron Was Here Earlier Than First Thought

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There's promising news from Gov. Kathy Hochul in the battle against COVID.

After a steep wave thanks to the Omicron variant, cases in New York state are falling as fast as they went up.

Hochul says it's an encouraging trend.

Friday, there are just more than 28,000 new cases statewide. That has plummeted from 90,000 two weeks ago.

Watch Gov. Hochul's Friday COVID Update

The state's positivity rate also dropped below 10% for the first time since Dec. 20.

"We have been waiting for this moment. We are finally trending the direction we want to go down, and that is downward, downward, downward," Hochul said.


Despite evidence that the Omicron surge might soon be in the rearview mirror, Hochul said now is not the time to take your foot off the gas, so the push to vaccinate has not let up.

St. Sen. Robert Jackson's office hosted a pop-up vaccine site at the Goddard Riverside Lincoln Square Neighborhood Association, with the goal of making it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated, or boosted.

"Making sure that everyone has an opportunity to get vaccinations within their community, and not have to travel, for example, from here all the way up to the Bronx. Because more than likely people are not going to go," Jackson said.

"Vaccination plus a booster is kind of the baseline at this point, and it's a great thing to do, not just for yourself, but for your neighbor. It helps us all to prevent COVID from spreading," said Trish Anderson.


"I can't go far away to get it because I'm afraid of the trains and buses and everything," said Upper West Side resident Antonia Concepcion. "Because I don't want to get sick. If I want to live one or two or three more years, I want to be healthy."

Healthy, and ready to keep fighting, at 97 years young.

New data from the CDC suggests the Omicron variant probably arrived in New York earlier than we first thought. Wastewater samples suggest that someone in New York City was infected with Omicron as early as Nov. 21. That's before South Africa ever reported a case.


CBS2's Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

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