Residents in many counties in the Hudson Valley, Upstate New York, New York City and Long Island are being told to put the COVID mask back on.
The new Omicron XBB.1.5 variant is spreading rapidly across New York State.
New, Very Infectious COVID Variant Spreading Rapidly In New York
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.
"It is the most transmissible subvariant that has been detected yet," WHO COVID-19 Technical Lead Maria VanKerkhove said. "The more this virus circulates, the more opportunities it will have to change."
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.
CDC Recommends Most Of New York State Put The Mask Back On
The CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask when the COVID-19 Community Level is classified as high by the CDC.
"Wear a high-quality mask or respirator," the CDC states when the COVID-19 Community Level is classified as High. "If you are at high risk of getting very sick, consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed."
CDC Says To Wear a Mask In Public In These New York Counties
Hudson Valley Post researched the latest data from the CDC to find out which counties in the Empire State need to mask up.
Below are the counties across New York State with "High" COVID transmission, according to the CDC as of Thursday morning.
Kings County (Brooklyn)
New York County (Manhattan)
Richmond County (Staten Island)
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