COVID-19 cases surge 22.8% in New York

Mike Stucka
Associate Director of Pharmacy Ariane Schieber measures a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as frontline workers received second doses Tuesday at Ohio State University's East Hospital.

New coronavirus cases leaped in New York in the week ending Saturday, rising 22.8% as 107,619 cases were reported. The previous week had 87,651 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

New York ranked No. 18 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 1,698,484 reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 18% from the week before. Across the country, 46 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 Herkimer, Cayuga and Lewis counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Suffolk County, with 12,494 cases; Queens County, with 11,827 cases; and Kings County, with 10,679. Weekly case counts rose in 56 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Queens, Kings and Suffolk counties.

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The share of New York test results that came back positive was 7.7% in the latest week, compared with 7.6% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 1,367,407 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 1,208,564. 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 six counties, with the best declines in Oneida, Sullivan and Greene counties.

In New York, 1,198 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Saturday. In the week before that, 987 people were reported dead.

A total of 1,119,284 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 39,471 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 22,132,396 people have tested positive and 372,428 people have died.