Health Officials Want New York State Residents To Wear Masks
New York health officials continue to urge New Yorkers to take precautions against multiple illnesses that are spreading across the Empire State.
New, Very Infectious COVID Variant Spreading Rapidly In New York
The new Omicron XBB.1.5 variant continues to spread rapidly across New York State.
This new variant, which started in South Africa is officially the dominant strain in the Empire State, according to health officials. Early data indicates the XBB.1.5 variant spreads quicker than other variants.
The New York State Department of Health recently confirmed the XBB.1.5 variant, now makes up over 50 percent of COVID-19 cases across New York State.
Flu Still Widespread In New York State
New York State's Department of Health's statewide surveillance of the flu found the illness has been "geographically widespread for the 14th consecutive week."
All 62 counties across New York reported cases of the flu in the past week.
Six children have died from the flu this season, according to health officials.
Children, Elderly At Risk In New York
New York parents also need to watch out for RSV.
Young children, older individuals and residents with underlying health conditions are most at risk of serious issues, officials say.
"RSV, influenza and COVID-19 can be especially dangerous for very young children, New Yorkers 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions. As a result of this threat, the state Department of Health issued a Health Advisory Notice this fall to alert hospitals, local health departments, laboratories, emergency rooms, and other healthcare providers to remain vigilant against rising respiratory illnesses," Hochul's office stated.
Tips To Avoid Illness Include Wearing A Mask
Health officials recommend residents get vaccinated against COVID and the flu as well as practice good hygiene such as washing hands and covering up coughs. Wearing a mask is also recommended.
"While the simplest thing to do is regularly wash your hands and practice good respiratory hygiene, like covering your cough, one of the key things we learned in our battle against COVID-19 is that wearing a well-fitting mask can also dramatically reduce the spread of other respiratory viruses, including flu and RSV," former Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett stated.
CDC Recommends Many New York Counties Put Maks Back On
The CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask when the COVID-19 Community Level is classified as high by the CDC.
Below are the 17 New York counties with "High" COVID transmission, according to the CDC.