ALBANY – New York State’s COVID-19 spread is at “pre-surge levels,” according to Governor Kathy Hochul who reported the lowest case rate since October on Tuesday.

Hochul spoke during a news conference in Albany when she outlined a 97 percent drop in cases since the peak of the winter surge on January 7.

In addition, the state recorded a 72 percent decline in COVID-related hospitalizations in the past month.

The state, according to Hochul, now has one of the lowest case rates of any major state in the U.S.

“That is an amazing drop, I don’t think we could have foreseen that. We prayed for it, we hoped it would happen, and it actually did happen,” said Hochul. “So, to everybody who followed our guidelines, the businesses who complied with what we asked them to do, the people who got vaccinated and got boosted, the people who wore their mask when the numbers were that dangerously high.”

92 million COVID test kits are expected to be distributed to New Yorkers next week, including five million for students to use before returning to school following the upcoming February break.

As for ending the mask mandate in schools, Hochul says she plans to look at a number of factors, including vaccination rates among school-aged children, infection rates, pediatric hospitalizations, and global trends.