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With majority of state at medium or high-risk for COVID spread, NY recommending public masking

COVID at-home test kits and K95 masks
Jim Levulis
COVID at-home test kits and K95 masks

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 health department is recommending people wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

The state says the CDC recently 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.

"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," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement. "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 majority of the Northeast is deemed medium or high-risk for COVID spread.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org