The winter COVID surge may have peaked in New York. However, COVID masking rules remain in place.

On Wednesday, Gov. Kathy Hochul updated the Empire State on the ongoing battle with COVID. 18.61 percent of cases in the previous 24 hours came back positive and the 7-day positivity rate dropped to 20.91 percent.

"Looks like we might be cresting over that peak. Cases are slowing down the rate of increase is slowing down but they are still high," Hochul said.

Incoming NY Governor Kathy Hochul Gives First Press Conference After Cuomo's Resignation
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The winter COVID surge may have peaked in New York. However, COVID masking rules remain in place.

After nearly 1.1 million new COVID infections since Christmas, New York reported 48,686 new positive cases. That number is still very high, but much lower than reported just a few days ago.

"We are not at the end but I want to say this is a glimmer of hope at a time when we desperately need that," Hochul added.

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We are not at the end but I want to say this is a glimmer of hope at a time when we desperately need that

The number of positive cases and the positivity rate are both at their lowest in recent weeks.

However, the daily number of hospitalizations continues to rise. 1,642 more New Yorkers were admitted to the hospital in the past 24 hours. 12,540 Empire State residents are currently hospitalized with COVID. While the number of hospitalizations have increased, Hochul notes the rate is slowing.

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The number of positive cases and the positivity rate are both at their lowest in recent weeks.

"Those numbers are continuing to go up but the rate of increase is slowing. Hospitalizations continue to grow but the rate of increase is slowing. To us, that is very encouraging," Hochul said.

Hochul says she needs more time and wants to see the numbers continue to decline before she decides to lift the indoor mask mandate indoor public places with no vaccine requirement.

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"The data we are seeing on new infections offers a glimmer of hope that New Yorkers' discipline in fighting the winter surge is paying off," Hochul said. "We are getting through this, but we must stay vigilant and not take our hard-won progress for granted. We know what works - make sure you and your loved ones are vaccinated and boosted, wear a mask, and exercise caution in indoor public spaces so we can finally leave this pandemic in the past."

Hochul says she needs more time and wants to see the numbers continue to decline before she decides to lift the indoor mask mandate
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The mask mandate is in place until at least Feb. 1.

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