New York, once the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, marked a grim milestone after recording what was the state’s single-highest daily caseload yet.

On Sunday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul revealed that the state saw 49,708 new cases on Dec. 24 alone. This update follows weeks of mounting concern in New York in the wake of the Omicron variant, which is considered a more contagious strain that can bypass some of the protection offered by existing COVID-19 vaccines.

"The vaccine is the best tool we have to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe as we head into the new year,” Hochul said. “Take advantage of having it readily available and get yours today.”

Fears about Omicron have been spurning New York officials into action, be it through encouraging more vaccinations, booster shots and expanding access to testing. On Dec. 19, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio urged President Joe Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to bring more supplies of at-home testing kits and antiviral pills to residents of his city.

The latest case figures arrive on the same day that de Blasio’s citywide vaccine mandate came into effect for businesses.

The mandate requires workers to have at least one vaccination dose by Monday and will not allow employees to opt out of vaccination through regular testing. The mandate also updates city vaccination rules to include required testing for children ages 5 to 11 to show one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before being allowed entry into indoor facilities like restaurants. Adults will have to show proof of two vaccine doses.

New York state estimates that 77.4% of its population received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination and 69.4% are fully vaccinated.

New York City reports that 80.5% of its residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination and 71.7% are fully vaccinated.