State Department of Health Recommends Those Living in High-Risk Counties or Personally At-Risk Wear Masks Indoors During Surge According to CDC Recommendations

Governor Hochul and State Officials Briefed County Executives Today On Updated Recommendations and Preparations for Summer and Fall

All New Yorkers Urged to Get Vaccinated/Boosted, Test Following Exposure/Symptoms, Stay Home/Seek Treatment in Consultation with Healthcare Provider if Unwell/Positive

See COVID-19 Community Rates Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 13, 2022) – With COVID-19 subvariants continuing to spread and with all but one county in New York State designated as medium or high-risk by the CDC, the State Department of Health today urged all New Yorkers to take common sense precautions to protect against COVID-19. This includes recommending all New Yorkers in high-risk counties, and those throughout the state with increased risk of severe disease due to underlying conditions, to wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

County executives were briefed on a call today prior to the announcement by Governor Hochul, Director of State Operations Kathryn Garcia, New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett, and other state officials. Topics on the call included the updated recommendations and New York State's ongoing COVID-19 preparedness efforts heading into the Summer and Fall.

"As we closely monitor the numbers and as case levels remain high across the state, now is the time for every New Yorker to get vaccinated and boosted, test following exposure or symptoms, and stay home if unwell, even if you initially test negative on an at-home test. If you test positive, consult with your provider about treatments," said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "In accordance with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we recommend that all New Yorkers in high-risk COVID-19 counties and all New Yorkers at-risk of severe disease wear a mask in public indoor places, regardless of vaccination status. These public health measures, as well as ensuring proper air ventilation when gathering, will help reduce COVID-19 transmission in communities and lower the risk of serious illness and hospitalization for individuals. We will continue to work with local partners and make every tool at our disposal widely available to New Yorkers, as we move forward through the pandemic."

The Department continues to closely monitor the situation and keep a watchful eye on all regions of the State. In recent days, the CDC designated 45 counties in New York as high-risk, up from 36 counties just one week ago. Another 16 counties have been designated as medium-risk and only one – Bronx – remains at low-risk levels. For more information on CDC recommendations for low, medium and high-risk counties, please visit here.

The Department of Health continues to make public health tools widely available and urges all New Yorkers to use these tools to protect against the spread of COVID-19. State health officials also continue to closely monitor trends over time, including 7-day averages here and below:

Cases Per 100K Population - 7-day Average
4/28/2022 5/5/2022 5/12/2022
Capital Region 44.76 52.42 55.63
Central New York 49.44 43.02 36.84
Finger Lakes 46.14 41.87
Long Island 34.68 45.67 59.53
Mid-Hudson 30.14 39.98 51.22
Mohawk Valley 52.13 49.04 47.13
New York City 25.42 40.50 44.34
North Country 37.37 35.22 40.41
Southern Tier 51.90 50.48 51.97
Western New York 54.98 58.49 64.13
Statewide 34.50 43.73 49.26

The Department's Wadsworth Center continues to track the emergence of COVID-19 variants and subvariants, including BA.2 and BA.2.1.12. For samples of SARS-CoV-2 collected between April 24 -- May 7, 2022 from New York that are sequenced and uploaded into GISAID, 99.2% were the Omicron variant.

During this time period, .1% of Omicron sequences were lineage BA.1, .9% were BA.1.1, 54.9% were BA.2, and 43.2% were BA.2.12.1. 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.

All New Yorkers should stay up to date on COVID-19 rates in their community.

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. More information on COVID-19 testing is available here, and more information on COVID-19 treatment is available here.