CDC calls for masks in 36 New York counties with high levels of Covid (updated list)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is requesting masks from 36 New York State counties, all located in the New York State region, due to high levels of Covid-19.

The CDC updated its Covid Community Level Map on Thursday showing areas where Covid has a “high” (orange), “medium” (yellow) or “low” (green) risk. More than 87% of the U.S. is still green, but 79 counties across the country are at high risk, up from 40 two weeks ago, and nearly half are in the Empire State:

  • Albany County
  • Broome County
  • Cayuga County
  • Chemung County
  • Clinton County
  • Columbia County
  • Cortland County
  • Erie County
  • Essex County
  • Franklin County
  • Genesee County
  • Herkimer County
  • Jefferson County
  • Lewis County
  • Livingston County
  • Madison County
  • Monroe County
  • Niagara County
  • Oneida County
  • Onondaga County
  • Ontario County
  • Orleans County
  • Oswego County
  • Rensselaer County
  • Saratoga County
  • Schenectady County
  • Seneca County
  • County of Sant Llorenç
  • Steuben County
  • Tioga County
  • Tompkins County
  • Warren County
  • Washington County
  • Wayne County
  • Wyoming County
  • Yacht County

Note: An earlier version of this story included Montgomery County in Covid’s high- and mid-level lists. Montgomery is currently yellow (medium); A total of 36 counties are in orange (high levels), not 37.

Thirty-seven counties in New York State were considered high risk last week, but three of them (Hamilton, Montgomery and Schuyler counties) were down to mid-Covid levels this week. Columbia County and Essex County, however, rose to high Covid levels.

In comparison, four weeks ago only three New York counties were considered high-risk: Onondaga, Oswego, and Cayuga counties. The list grew to 23 two weeks ago as cases spread from downtown New York; Areas with high levels of Covid now include counties in the nearby states of Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Currently, 22 New York counties are at medium risk (up from 12 last week), including Cattaraugus County, Chenango County, Delaware County, Dutchess County, Fulton County, Greene, Hamilton County, Kings County, Montgomery County, Nassau County, New York County, Otsego County, Putnam County, Queens County, Richmond County, Rockland County, County of Schoharie, county of Schuyler, county of Suffolk, county of Sullivan, county of Ulster and county of Westchester.

Only four counties remain at low risk: Allegany County, Bronx County, Chautauqua County and Orange County.

Non-mandatory indoor masks are recommended in areas with high levels of Covid community according to the new CDC guidelines published in February. Masking recommendations are now based on three factors: Covid hospitalizations, hospital capacity, and new Covid cases, focusing more on preventing hospitals from overflowing and less on positive testing, which increased during the omicron wave. in December and January.

Masks are not recommended indoors, including schools, in areas with medium or low community levels, although immunocompromised people and others at high risk of serious illness still want to wear masquerades indoors and avoid large amounts. agglomerations.

Covid community levels were low enough in early March because masks were not recommended in any county in New York State, but cases and hospitalizations increased in and around Syracuse due to the increase. of highly contagious BA.2 variants, at the end of widespread use of masks and declining vaccines. The state health department said CNY was the first in the United States to see a “significant community outbreak” of more contagious omicron strains related to BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1. they have spread rapidly.

Covid cases have begun to decline in the Syracuse area, but hospitalizations are a more important factor than positive tests to recommend masks under the new CDC guidelines. New York City residents hospitalized with Covid-19 have tripled from 41 in mid-March to 126 this week, according to County Executive Ryan McMahon; 18 residents of Onondaga County have also died in the past two weeks, compared to just six in the first 20 days of April.

Hospitalizations and deaths tend to go down as cases go down, but it can take weeks for them to start appearing.

The CDC updates its community-level map every Thursday. The map offers recommendations for the use of masks, but does not indicate where to cover facials.

Masks are still needed in New York State for health centers, nursing homes, courts, prisons, homeless shelters, public transportation and taxis, and shared travel services like Uber and Lyft. Children should also be taken to school in some cases, such as after being exposed to someone with Covid for 10 days.

The CDC also says that anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 or who is positive should wear masks, regardless of vaccination status or level of risk where they live.

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