As New Yorkers Prepare to Travel and Gather for Easter/Passover Holidays, New York State Department of Health Urges People to Take Common Sense Precautions Against COVID-19 With Case Rates Rising Across the State

All Residents Urged to Get Vaccinated/Boosted, Encouraged to Follow Mitigation Recommendations Including Gathering Outdoors When Possible and Ensuring Proper Air Ventilation

Vulnerable New Yorkers and Those Gathering in Indoor Public Spaces Should Consider Wearing Masks to Protect Themselves

All New Yorkers Should Get Tested Following Symptoms/Exposure, Seek Treatment/Stay Home if COVID-Positive and Consult with Healthcare Provider Regarding Treatments

Department's Wadsworth Center Recently Identified Two Sub-lineages of BA.2 – BA 2.12 and BA.2.12.1 – Likely Contributing to Increased Transmission Reported in Central New York and Surrounding Regions

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 14, 2022) – With the Easter/Passover holidays approaching, COVID-19 cases rising across all regions of the state and following yesterday's announcement of two highly contagious Omicron sub-lineages identified in Central New York and surrounding regions, the New York State Department of Health today urged New Yorkers to take common sense precautions while preparing to travel and gather with family and friends.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett urges residents to get vaccinated ​and boosted, tested following exposure or symptoms, and advised all vulnerable New Yorkers and those gathering in indoor public spaces to consider wearing masks. These public health measures, as well as ensuring proper ventilation and gathering outdoors where possible, will help reduce COVID-19 transmission in communities and serious illness and hospitalization risks for individuals.

"With the spring holidays upon us, case rates elevated and rising across the state, and a highly contagious subvariant on the move, I urge New Yorkers to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves and others against this new subvariant," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "Vulnerable New Yorkers and those gathering in indoor public spaces should consider wearing masks—particularly with this new subvariant on the move. If you have not yet gotten fully vaccinated or boosted, now is the time to do so to reduce the risk of severe disease and hospitalization. These recommendations are particularly important as New Yorkers prepare to gather for the upcoming religious holidays or perhaps travel during spring recess."

The Department also urges all New Yorkers to complete their primary COVID-19 vaccine series, get boosted when eligible, get tested when not feeling well or potentially exposed—including after traveling or being at events—and to contact a healthcare provider following testing positive to discuss eligibility for treatments.

The Department continues to urge New Yorkers to do everything possible to protect themselves and others. In support of your efforts, the State has distributed more than 70 million at-home test kits in recent months, expanded vaccine and booster access through state-run vaccination sites and community-based efforts, and made therapeutics widely available.

In Central New York, which has the highest regional case rate in the State, more residents are taking advantage of available treatment. Use of therapeutics is up considerably, Paxlovid is up 60% week to week and Molnupiravir is up 120%. Central New York is now administering two to three times more Paxlovid treatment courses per 100,000 residents, more than any other region in New York State.

New Yorkers are reminded that COVID treatment works best when it is taken within 5 days of the onset of symptoms. When symptoms arise, don't wait to get tested, and don't wait after a positive result to call your health care provider.

The New York State Department of Health continues to monitor the situation and keep a watchful eye on all regions of the state. State health officials are closely monitoring trends over time, including 7-day averages available here, and below:

Cases per 100,000, 7-day average Change in 7-day average since 7 days ago Change in 7-day average since 14 days ago
  3/30/2022 4/6/2022 4/13/2022
Capital Region 12.44 16.30 23.85 +46% +92%
Central New York 36.49 47.40 53.64 +13% +47%
Finger Lakes 12.81 20.76 29.80 +44% +133%
Long Island 12.32 16.21 27.75 +71% +125%
Mid-Hudson 13.36 18.88 26.41 +40% +98%
Mohawk Valley 19.58 25.46 42.18 +66% +115%
New York City 15.28 18.69 26.09 +40% +71%
North Country 16.50 20.46 25.23 +23% +53%
Southern Tier 22.82 27.31 37.37 +37% +64%
Western New York 10.06 14.55 25.48 +75% +153%
Statewide 15.16 19.68 28.27 +44% +86%

New Yorkers are encouraged to check COVID-19 case rates and new hospital admissions in their community, which are updated daily and publicly available here.

The Department's Wadsworth Center continues to track the emergence of BA.2 in the State, which now accounts for 80.6% of all COVID infections in New York. The Department is also advancing early warning monitoring systems—such as wastewater surveillance efforts—to begin to understand any potential impact of a new strain in the region. More information on the New York State Department of Health's process to monitor, track, and sequence COVID-19 variants, including BA.2, is available publicly at the NYS COVID-19 Variant Tracker.

The New York State Department of Health reminds all New Yorkers that COVID-19 remains a public health risk to individuals of all ages. Short-term side effects of COVID-19 may include flu-like symptoms, fatigue, trouble breathing, fever or chills, muscle and body aches, and more. Severe symptoms can lead to serious illness and hospitalization. New Yorkers who are not vaccinated or up to date with vaccinations are at increased risk of developing severe disease.

Following the CDC's recommendation, New York State recently announced the availability of second booster doses for eligible New Yorkers 50 years and older who received their first booster dose at least four months ago. People over 18 years who received the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine and booster and immunocompromised New Yorkers ages 12 years and older may also choose to receive a second booster using an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) four months after their first booster. All New York State vaccination sites are administering vaccines, additional doses, and first and second booster doses to eligible New Yorkers.

New Yorkers can schedule their free COVID-19 vaccine or booster appointment by visiting the State's Am I Eligible website or to find a nearby location. New Yorkers are also encouraged to stay educated on COVID-19 testing options available here and COVID-19 treatments available here.