State Health Commissioner Urges New Yorkers to Get Vaccinated, Boosted, and Tested As COVID-19 Cases Climb in Central New York

COVID-19 Cases in Central New York Surge to Highest Levels in the State

Central New York's 7-day Regional Positivity Rate is 9.14% As Compared to the Statewide 7-day Average of 2.36%

Central New York's 7-day Average of Cases Per 100K Population is 46.46 As Compared to the Statewide 7-day Average of 14.66.

New York State Department of Health Closely Monitoring the Rise in COVID-19 Cases

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 28, 2022) – As COVID-19 cases have rapidly risen in Central New York, the State Department of Health is closely monitoring the situation and urges people to remain vigilant against COVID-19 to protect themselves, their family and coworkers from serious illness or hospitalization.

"The recent increase in cases in Central New York highlights the need for everyone to remain vigilant, do their part and get a COVID-19 vaccine and booster dose when eligible, tested following exposure or when developing symptoms, and to stay home and isolate when sick," New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "People should also feel comfortable wearing a mask if they choose to do so while indoors in public places, especially if they have a compromised immune system or are close to someone who is vulnerable."

As case rates can increase or fluctuate for a variety of reasons, state health officials are reviewing all potential explanations as to why Central New York is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases. However, local vaccination rates, mask wearing, and adherence to other mitigation efforts may play a role in Central New York's case rates.

State health officials also closely monitoring trends over time, including 7-day averages available here and noted that overall case counts in New York State remain low and they do not anticipate a serious spike in cases throughout the state. Central New York's 7-day average of cases per 100K population is 46.46, compared to the statewide 7-day average of 14.66.

The positive COVID-19 tests and cases over time by region and county are available here.

The State Department of Health also has a wastewater surveillance program for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 that contributes data to the CDC dashboard and is being expanded to cover more counties and to include sequencing for the analysis of COVID-19 variants. The program will use high speed sequencing methods to facilitate the rapid detection and identification of variants and their circulation throughout the State.

To help protect against increasing cases in Central New York, the state recently provided more than 100,000 at home at-home kits, made vaccines readily available at New York State operated vaccination sites and other vaccine locations, and has ensured therapeutics are available.

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, "New Yorkers can rest assured that as COVID cases rise in Central New York, the State is prepared and doing everything necessary to keep communities safe. We remain coordinated with our local partners and will continue to ensure they have the support they need to beat the virus. We must all stay vigilant to get through this, so if you haven't been vaccinated, please do your part, get your shot today and help protect your community."

State Senator Patty Ritchie said. "As we continue to move toward normal life again, it's important to remember to take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19, which is still in our communities. Taking simple precautions can help keep us all healthy, especially those who are vulnerable."

State Senator Rachel May said, "We are seeing a real rise in cases here in Central New York. The number one thing people can do to protect themselves, their family, and their community is to get vaccinated and boosted, and to help others in their life to do the same. Should anyone need any type of assistance in this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office for assistance."

Assemblymember William Magnarelli said, "While New York State did a great job focusing on vaccines and masks to combat COVID over the past two years, the disease has not disappeared. We as a community need to stay vigilant. Wearing masks, staying home when not feeling well and maintaining vaccination status are all important means of keeping all members of our community safe and healthy."

Assemblymember Al Stirpe said, "While we've made significant progress over the last two years, there has been an increase in COVID-19 in our Central New York communities and it's important to remind folks that we should still take reasonable precautions. Remember, stay home when you're not feeling well and get vaccinated or boosted if you have yet to do so. Pandemic fatigue is real and many families may be tired of these announcements, but knowledge is the best weapon in our fight against this virus."

Assemblymember Kelles said, “After more than two years fighting this pandemic, we already understand what to do to keep ourselves and our families safe from COVID-19. Numbers are rising in central New York, and though masking mandates have been lifted, we know that these interventions work to foster a decline in the spread of cases. I encourage people to wear masks when we’re in large, consolidated groups and cannot social distance. I also urge everyone to get your COVID-19 vaccination and your booster shot, as vaccination significantly decreases your chances of contracting a serious case of COVID-19resulting in hospitalization and death.”

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, "The most powerful tools we have against COVID-19 is the vaccine and booster shot and I continue to encourage everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine. It also is important that if you do feel sick, you stay home and get tested. Onondaga County stands ready to deliver tests and masks to anyone that requests them."

Chairman of the Cortland County Legislature Kevin Fitch said, "I would like to thank Dr. Mary Bassett and her team for staying on top of the data and offering the State's assistance (masks, vaccines, and therapeutics) to the Central New York Region. I would also like to state, battling COVID-19 is a team effort and everyone needs to do their part, we are not out of the woods yet."

More information on the New York State Department of Health's process to monitor, track, and sequence COVID-19 variants, including BA.2, is available publicly at the NYS COVID-19 Variant Tracker.