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With the Omicron subvariant pushing up COVID-19 case numbers, New York City on Monday raised its COVID alert level from low to medium, meaning some public health rules could be reimposed.
The risk level was raised because the city is now averaging more than 200 daily new cases per 100,000 people, city Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan, MD, said Monday at a news conference, according to The New York Post .
“With COVID-19 cases rising, NYC has entered the Medium risk alert level,” he said. “As a practical matter, what this means for New Yorkers is that they must exercise even greater caution than they have the last few weeks.”
The change to medium risk level does not automatically trigger the reimposition of safety restrictions. Mayor Eric Adams will have to decide whether to do that.
As of April 29, the city was recording 209.2 new COVID cases and 6.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, with 2.89% of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients, according to the city COVID website.
The city has been averaging 2,489 daily new cases over the last week, a big jump from the 600 daily new cases from early March, The New York Times reported. But hospitalizations and deaths are down slightly over the last month.
The city moved into the low, or green, risk category in early March as case counts dropped. The change meant that face masks were not required in schools and people didn’t have to show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, museums, and other indoor places. City officials hailed the loosening of restrictions as proof the city was coming back to life.
The medium or yellow level means that people should “consider” wearing face masks indoors in public places and “upgrade to higher-quality masks, including KN95, KF94, N95, or a cloth mask on top of a surgical mask.”
About 88% of adults in the city are fully vaccinated, but a much lower level of children are vaccinated, The Times said.
The New York Post: “NYC COVID alert raised to ‘medium’ as cases rise, but hospitalizations stay low”
City of New York. “COVID-19: Alert Level”
The New York Times: “New York City Enters Higher Coronavirus Risk Level as Case Numbers Rise”
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