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Nonessential Procedures On Pause At 40 New York Hospitals After Single-Day COVID Record

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New COVID infections in New York reached an all-time high of more than 90,000 in a single day.

Nonessential, elective procedures are once again on pause at 40 hospitals in the Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes and Central New York regions for a minimum of two weeks, CBS2's Leah Mishkin reported Sunday.

The news comes as hospitalization rates are rising in 46 states.

"The patients who are dying from COVID by and large are ones who are not vaccinated," said Dr. Caroline Goldzweig of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "And they're more likely to get that long COVID."

Gov. Kathy Hochul said the solution to this winter surge is getting vaccinated and boosted. Hochul said vaccination rates among children are still too low and urged parents and guardians to act.

"It's simple. It's been allowed for weeks. It's safe. Thousands of children have been vaccinated safely," the governor said.

Last week, Hochul announced health care workers are required to get the booster shot, "With no exemptions other than a medical exemption and no test out option."

On Long Island, the Hempstead Union Free School District gave out at-home testing kits to parents, who needed to show a form with their child's ID number and school name, at five sites across the village Saturday.

"You save time being able to drive up and get the at-home kit, and that's to make sure the kids are tested to make sure they keep themselves and others safe as well," one person said.

"If parents can test their child before they come to school, then it will stop the spread in schools for our teachers and our staff and for their classmates," said James Clark, assistant superintendent of Hempstead schools.

Elected officials in New Jersey, which reported more than 29,000 positive PCR tests Saturday, are also encouraging testing.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer went to get a test at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck.

"Testing is a very important part of, actually, this new normal. Making sure that we can get tested and we deal with it. Masks are going to be part of it, the new normal for a while. Eventually I'm hoping that people are vaccinated and we're going to deal with this like we deal with other annual, seasonal challenges," Gottheimer said Saturday.

The site has been seeing about 500 people a day.

"I have a little girl in school. So there's a lot of exposures, and just being sure and being safe," said Dina Vitorino from Palisades Park, New Jersey.

On the bright side, the COVID surge in South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first detected, is declining. The CDC said that could happen in the U.S. too.

CBS2's Leah Mishkin contributed to this report.

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