PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Gov. Dan McKee is commending Rhode Islanders for going out and getting vaccinated against COVID-19 as the state continues to see a decline in new cases and hospitalizations.

Citing new data from the New York Times, McKee and interim Department of Health Director Dr. Jim McDonald announced Monday that Rhode Island is now leading the nation for percentage of population fully vaccinated at 80%.

“Rhode Islanders should be proud of the progress we’ve made together in getting our population fully vaccinated,” McKee said in a news release.

While the data also shows that only 37% of the state’s population has received a booster dose so far, McKee noted how that’s good for third-best in the country.

“This milestone is an encouraging sign for the health of our state and the future of our economic recovery – but we cannot stop here,” he added. “Our path out of this pandemic depends upon Rhode Islanders getting their boosters and staying up to date with their vaccines – and right now, that is our focus.”

Since the omicron variant sent cases skyrocketing in early January, the state has since seen a 94% decrease in case rates, according to McKee.

On Monday, the Health Department reported 856 new cases between Friday and Sunday, and added 94 more cases to the daily totals prior to that.

The rate of community transmission fell to 292 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, which is the lowest it’s been since mid-November, the data shows.

Twelve more Rhode Islanders have died after contracting COVID-19, according to health officials, while hospitalizations dropped below 200 for the first time since Nov. 26.

As of Saturday, there were 189 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals, with 28 in the ICU and 17 on ventilators.

McDonald said there’s been a 52% decline in hospitalizations since January, which he attributed to the high vaccination rates.

“The success of Rhode Island’s vaccination campaign is a main reason why our hospitalization rate per case in January did not reach the levels that we saw at prior points in the pandemic,” he explained. “However, COVID-19 is still with us. It is critical that we all remain up to date with our COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccination is fast, it’s easy, and it’s your best protection against serious illness.”