The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now lists 23 New York counties as being at high risk of COVID-19.
The CDC encourages people to wear masks in those counties, which include Cayuga, Onondaga, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Wayne and Yates. 17 more counties, including Livingston and Wyoming are in the medium risk category.
Syracuse.com reports the number of high risk counties has gone from three to ten to the current 23 over the last three weeks. The CDC recommends mask wearing indoors in the high risk counties, even if local officials have not required them. The CDC bases its current masking recommendations on the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity and new cases. The CDC is not emphasizing positive test percentages, which increased when the Omicron variant was first identified.
The state still requires masks on public transportation, even though a federal judge recently ruled such mandates illegal. The state also requires them in health care facilities, nursing homes, jails, homeless shelters and for ride-sharing services.
The CDC updates its Community Levels map every Thursday.
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