New York City entered a “Medium” risk level for COVID-19 on Monday, with health officials advising residents to take extra precautions when out in public.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan announced the change in the city’s COVID-19 risk alert level on the morning of May 2, largely because the citywide transmission rate now exceeds 200 cases per 100,000 residents.
“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,” Vasan said. “If you are at a higher risk for severe disease due to age, underlying health conditions or because you are unvaccinated, consider additional precautions such as avoiding crowded indoor gatherings. We continue to strongly recommend all New Yorkers wear a mask in public indoor settings.”
The medium alert level reflects a higher level of community spread across the Five Boroughs. Hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19, however, remain at a stable or low level, thanks in part to high numbers of vaccinations and the availability of antiviral medication.
Recent Health Department data indicated an increased spread of COVID-19 in Queens and Staten Island, after areas of Manhattan had been hard hit by the virus in recent weeks. The increase in infections can be attributed to the spread of the BA.2 subvariant, which is believed to be a more contagious form of the Omicron COVID-19 variant that hit the city during the previous holiday season.
At this time, the city has not announced any new restrictions or mask/vaccine mandates, many of which have been lifted in recent weeks. New Yorkers, however, are advised to wear masks at indoor public settings and to get tested before and after any large gatherings.
Those who haven’t already received a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot should also do so immediately, Vasan advised.
“The coming weeks will be critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19 and getting back to a Low risk level so we can more safely enjoy our spring. And remember, the steps you take to protect yourself also protect others, especially those most vulnerable. As a city, we have the tools we need to beat back this virus,” Vasan said. “As New Yorkers, we are in this together. By incorporating these steps into our daily lives, we can continue to look out for one another and ourselves.”
To find a place to receive a vaccine or booster shot, visit vaccinefinder.nyc.gov.
If you test positive for COVID-19, consult your physician or call 212-COVID-19 immediately to determine whether you can receive antiviral medication.