U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat is the latest from Capitol Hill to announce he's tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19. But there's a bit of a twist to the congressman's report: This is the second time he's been infected in the past 12 months.
"Many will note that this is my second COVID-19 diagnosis following a previous infection in January of 2021," Espaillat said, in a statement. "We have entered a new phase of the pandemic and are not fully out of the woods yet as the virus continues to surge in New York City, and in communities around the nation."
Espaillat says he's not experiencing any symptoms as of Saturday, and is not only fully vaccinated, but also has received a booster shot.
He's now one of more than 30 members of Congress who have tested positive for the coronavirus since last summer, according to GovTrack.us, which has also included both U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado from the Catskills, as well as U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis from Staten Island.
Espaillat says he's in isolation at home, and will "continue to test regularly over the next few days until my test results are negative."
More than 85,000 people in New York tested positive for the coronavirus to start 2022, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul's office — a jump of more than 1,300 percent from the 6,000 new cases reported Dec. 6. Much of this massive surge is fueled by the new omicron variant, government officials said, which is far more contagious than even the delta variant before it — which had been the dominant form of the coronavirus until late this past fall.
Yet, while hospitalizations are growing, they are not spiking at the same rate as infections. Just over 8,450 people were hospitalized in New York as of Jan. 1, not quite three times the number of patients reported at the beginning of December.
"As we enter the new year, it remains critical that we continue vigilance and caution," Espaillat said. "I encourage everyone to get vaccinated, and all eligible and at-risk residents to get the COVID-19 booster shot as soon as possible to help reduce hospitalization and deaths — and ultimately help our communities get back on track."