The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending public mask usage in just 58 over more than 3,200 counties nationwide where there is a 'high' risk of COVID-19 spread.

Of those 58, 37 are in New York State.

That includes Oneida, Herkimer, Madison and Onondaga counties.

Is there a clear reason for the wider-spread transmission in the Empire State? Not really says Dr, Kent Hall, chief physician executive at Mohawk Valley Health System.

via CDC.gov
via CDC.gov
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"[Compared to a few months ago], it is much harder to get accurate information on the number of cases because so many people are doing at-home testing and not all are reporting their results to health officials," Hall said.

Whether or not more New Yorkers are more diligent about reporting results isn't clear, and health officials have been unable to pinpoint the pileup for new cases in New York. Locally, Hall said MVHS started Monday with 27 hospitalized patients who were positive for COVID-19, including three (3) in intensive care.

The number of patients hospitalized with infection had fallen as low as three total in early March, Hall said. The while current numbers are higher that anyone would like, they are down more than 10-percent from last week, when 38 were hospitalized with the virus at MVHS.

Also, spreading significantly for this time of year are cases of the flu, according to data from New York State.

Depicted in the graph below, flu cases peaked statewide during the week of April 16 and while declining have remained elevated for this time of the year.

via NYS Department of Health
via NYS Department of Health
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When asked about what he was seeing from the 2021-22 influenza, Hall said the data reflects a correlation between New York's most recent mask mandate. The number of flu cases statewide began to plummet in mid-December, just Governor Kathy Hochul returned the mandate December 13, 2021, then began a sharp resurgence after it was repealed on February 10, 2022.

Overall, cases of the 'common-flu' in the Empire State are the highest they've been in five years, Hall said.

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