NEW YORK – As New York City reported thousands more new COVID-19 cases over the weekend, Mayor Bill de Blasio warned Monday there will be a surge in cases for several weeks to come.
“Omicron is a real challenge. It’s going to be a very challenging few weeks,” the mayor said during his press briefing. “We’re going to see a really fast upsurge in cases. We’re going to see a lot of New Yorkers affected by Omicron.”
While the city continues to monitor the fast-spreading variant, the mayor emphasized the focus on vaccinations and booster shots.
“Do yourself a favor, do them a favor, get that vaccination, get your child that vaccination, get that booster. That is the key to fighting Omicron,” he said.
The city has also seen an increased demand in COVID-19 testing, with many New Yorkers facing long lines and wait times.
De Blasio said there were 89 city-run sites currently open and another 23 — three mobile units and 20 brick-and-mortar centers — would come online this week, for a total of 112 testing locations citywide.
Test and Trace Corps. Executive Director Dr. Ted Long told the PIX11 Morning News at least eight of the new city-run testing sites would open in the next 24 hours.
He also said the city would offer at-home tests to people who can’t wait in line at a city-run site when the wait is 30 minutes or longer. Another 500,000 at-home tests were being distributed to community organizations to reach people in areas of the city where testing sites are not as prevalent.
The mayor reported 6,989 new COVID cases in the city on Monday.
With a surge in cases, Mayor de Blasio was asked whether or not New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square would continue.
He said plans will continue on as originally stated as it will be outdoors and open to those vaccinated, but they will make a final announcement before Christmas.