After nearly a month of rising COVID-19 case numbers in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul implied Tuesday that the tide might be turning.

The state reported 48,686 new cases in the last 24 hours, which is still high, but is down from a string of days in the last two weeks or so due in large part to the fast-spreading omicron variant.

"Looks like we might be cresting over that peak," Hochul said.

"This is, to me, a glimmer of hope in a time when we desperately need that," she continued.

Hospitalizations stand at 12,540, which is up from the day before, and hospital capacity still remains an issue in parts of the state, Hochul said.

As a result, the governor said that elective procedures will be halted at hospitals in Central New York, the Finger Lakes and Mohawk Valley in order to free up hospital capacity.

In addition, state Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said Tuesday that New York is essentially ending its contact tracing program.

"You should no longer expect a call from your health department," Bassett said.

Counties still have the option to do contact tracing, Bassett added.

The state's mask mandate, put back in place almost a month ago due to rising COVID-19 cases, is currently set to expire on Feb. 1. Hochul said she needs more time to determine if it will be extended again.


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