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WNY sees largest daily hospitalization drop of Covid-19 pandemic

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Encouraging coronavirus numbers continued for Western New York on Thursday, including the biggest drop in the number of hospitalized people of the entire pandemic. 

The number of patients hospitalized due to Covid-19 in the five-county region decreased by 26 on Wednesday, dropping from 527 to 501. 

The hospitalizations have fallen slowly but steadily in the past week, following a similarly paced decline in the region's coronavirus positivity rate. 

The drop in the seven-day average positive test rate also continued Thursday, with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announcing that Western New York was at 6.6%, the lowest it has been since Nov. 27.

At a briefing Thursday morning in Kingston, Cuomo reiterated comments he made Wednesday about the improved metrics for the region.

"That's ... a flattening of Western New York," Cuomo said of the region's positivity rate. "We saw Western New York going up for a long period of time. People got the word out, they took it seriously. We're now seeing a flattening of that increase, and that's good news."

The largest previous hospitalization decrease for the region, which includes Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, was 24 on May 5. That drop, from 257 to 233, was part of Western New York's recovery from the worst days of the spring, when hospitalizations peaked at 263. 

The virus' spread in November saw hospitalizations reach 548 on Dec. 10. That number has declined since. On Dec. 11 and 12, the total dropped for two straight days for the first time in over a month.

The drop of 26 represents a 4.9% decrease in hospitalizations, which marks the largest percentage drop since the region's November exponential spike began.

On Nov. 10, the region's hospitalizations decreased from 117 to 109, a 6.8% reduction. For the next month, total hospitalizations would multiply by more than five. 

Similarly, Western New York's seven-day average positive coronavirus test rate tripled over a month's time.

The rate reached 7.4% on the first day of December and staying there for four more days. before falling gradually since. The region's 6.6% rate stands fourth in the state among 10 regions.

The Finger Lakes region, which includes Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties as well as Rochester's Monroe County, has the highest rate in the state at 8.3%. Next are the Mohawk Valley (8.0%) and Central New York (7.0%). The statewide average is 5.2%.

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