New COVID-19 infections in Philadelphia have fallen off slightly from their all-time high daily levels during the first week of 2022, according to the city's health commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole.
The 7-day average for new cases was 2,978 on Tuesday, Bettigole said at a press briefing. That's down from the all-time high of 3,108 recorded last week.
Positive test results are also down to 31.5% from 40% the prior week, she said. That gave Bettigole a reason for optimism.
"Cases remain extremely high," she said. "But may be starting to peak."
National health officials are hopeful that the hard-hit northeastern region of the United States may be peaking on a broader scale as well. But medical experts are still urging the public to exercise caution in the weeks ahead as hospitalizations remain very high.
The record-high case totals in almost all of the Northeast have led to staff shortages at medical centers and other healthcare settings, complicating the response to the Omicron surge since last month.
In other parts of Pennsylvania, including the Lehigh Valley, new cases are still at record levels.
In Philadelphia, the dip in cases seems to be linked to a more cautious approach to the New Year's Eve celebrations compared to Christmas, Bettigole said.
"Looking at the numbers, we may be at peak now. We saw a giant exposure over Christmas, but it looks like Philadelphians were more cautious over New Year’s," she said.