Worshippers urged to keep masks on during indoor services in New York City as Covid cases spike

All five boroughs of New York City are back in the CDC’s high-risk category for COVID community spread as of the agency’s Friday update, a reflection of the increasingly infectious national climate as the “worst version” of omicron yet holds its dominance.

Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island had all been in the CDC high-risk category for the latter half of May and transitioned to medium risk through June as viral rates and hospital admissions associated with that wave ebbed. The relief was short-lived, though, with all five boroughs now in a heightened state of risk.

That means face masks are recommended for everyone indoors and in public settings, regardless of vaccination status — again. It comes as some neighborhoods in Manhattan and Queens are seeing 25% positivity rates (again). City health officials renewed their indoor mask advisory on Friday in light of the updated COVID data.

And as in prior waves, the problem is hardly relegated to New York City

Reinfection rates across the Empire State have supported the research findings as of late. Overall, that risk is up across the board in New York state, with Long Island reporting the highest reinfection rate (7.3 per 100K) over the last week, followed by New York City (6.9 per 100,000), according to the latest state data.

The two regions represent the most virulent ones in the state right now, though New York City’s rolling new case rate per 100,000 residents is slightly higher. Health department officials are currently reevaluating their COVID alert system as they try to adapt to the changing pandemic climate.


COVID breakthrough infections and hospitalizations across the state have risen as well, as the Columbia research would suggest, with the first up each of the last three weeks and the second up the last four. That timeframe reflects the rise of BA.4./BA.5.

The other tri-states have been grappling with the latest COVID wave, too. New Jersey, which only had four high-risk counties in the CDC’s update last week, now have zero at low risk. A half-dozen are considered high risk by the CDC, mainly in the southern part of the state, while the rest of New Jersey is shaded yellow on the agency’s map.

Connecticut, meanwhile, is divided. The western part of the state — Fairfield, Litchfield, New Haven, and Middlesex counties — are listed as medium-risk for COVID spread by the CDC, while the eastern four counties were at low risk in Friday’s federal update.


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