COVID-19 cases increasing in New York

Mike Stucka
Florida Presbyterian Homes CEO Joe Xanthopoulos, dressed as Santa, receives a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination from Walgreens Pharmacist Ericka Gutierrez at the Florida Presbyterian Homes in Lakeland, Florida, on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

New coronavirus cases increased in 4.3% in New York in the latest week ending Saturday as the state added 76,437 cases. The previous week had 73,306 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

New York ranked No. 20 among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 1,327,043 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -12.3% from the week before. Across the country, 6 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Testing has changed around the holidays, making comparisons difficult. Labs and testing sites closed. People traveled or prepared for the holidays instead of getting tested. Some counties and states didn't report data as quickly.

Within New York, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Genesee, Oneida and Herkimer counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Suffolk County, with 8,268 cases; Kings County, with 8,135 cases; and Queens County, with 7,879. Weekly case counts rose in 44 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Nassau, Kings and Suffolk counties.

>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

The share of New York test results that came back positive was 5.5% in the latest week, compared with 5.4% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 1,377,288 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 1,363,862. Experts say it is important to look at the share of tests that come back positive, not just case counts, to get a better idea of whether the rate of new infections is changing or if differences in testing are playing a role.

The World Health Organization says places should be conducting enough tests to have fewer than 5% coming back positive. Places where the percentage is higher could struggle to complete contact tracing soon enough to prevent spread of the virus.

Across New York, cases fell in 18 counties, with the best declines in Monroe, Orange and Onondaga counties.

In New York, 968 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Saturday. In the week before that, 814 people were reported dead.

A total of 914,522 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 37,286 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 18,982,634 people have tested positive and 331,909 people have died.