TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate stands at more than 5,700, the highest rate since April 2020, and there’s some concern about children under 5 being hospitalized with the virus.

As CBS2’s Nick Caloway report, in the middle of yet another wave of infections, drive-thru testing sites are as busy as ever.

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The site at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck tests roughly 500 people a day.

“I have a little girl in school, so there’s a lot of exposures and just being sure and being safe,” Palisades Park resident Dina Vitorino said.

COVID VACCINE

Among those stopping by for a swab was Congressman Josh Gottheimer.

In addition to a test for himself, Gottheimer came to encourage everyone to get tested regularly to get through the Omicron surge and the long-term reality that COVID is here to stay, sort of like the flu.

“Testing is a very important part of, actually, this new normal. Making sure that we can get tested, and we deal with it. Masks are going to be part of the new normal for a while. But yeah, eventually I’m hoping that people are vaccinated and we are going to deal with this like we deal with other annual, seasonal challenges,” he said.

Hospitals in New Jersey, New York and beyond are seeing an increase in COVID patients.

Nationally, COVID hospitalizations are up in 46 states, a 40% rise from the previous week’s average.

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The rate of hospitalization for children under 5, who are not yet eligible for vaccines, is the highest since the pandemic began, doubling since December. That data does include children who were admitted to hospitals for other reasons and tested positive while there.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the vaccination rate for older children is too low. She put out a plea for parents and guardians to get eligible kids vaccinated and boosted.

“It’s simple. It’s been allowed for weeks. It’s safe. Thousands of children have been vaccinated safely,” she said.

New York hit another all-time record high of more than 90,000 COVID cases in a single day.

The state is seeing a very slight decrease in positivity rates, however, four weeks ago, that percentage was at 8.4% compared to the current 21%.

Forty hospitals across New York have been ordered to stop non-essential, non-urgent elective procedures for the next two weeks due to a surge in COVID cases. Affected hospitals are in the Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes and Central New York regions.

There is some good news from South Africa, where the Omicron variant was first identified. Their COVID surge is declining as fast as it began. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there’s a good chance that could happen here, as well, but they caution that different parts of the country will likely surge at different times.

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CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team