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COVID deaths tick up in New York, but will mask mandates return?

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The short answer is this: At this point it will remain up to local communities, organizations, and entities.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

New York state saw an increase in COVID-19 related deaths last month, with 288 fatalities reported, a notable rise from the 188 deaths in August. A majority of these deaths were among older New Yorkers aged 60 and above, and a significant number were linked to nursing homes, according to state data.

While these figures remain below the peaks seen in earlier pandemic waves, they highlight the persistent risks faced by the most vulnerable groups. The escalating death toll has triggered concerns about compliance with updated COVID-19 vaccinations and adherence to mask-wearing guidelines.

In response to the surge in cases and resultant staffing challenges, some New York hospitals have reintroduced mask mandates for both staff and visitors.

Although the state had lifted its health care mask requirement in February, select hospitals have felt the need to reinstate this measure.

Additionally, as employers and schools confront rising infection numbers, debates are emerging about the possible reimplementation of state restrictions to curb indoor spread of the virus.

State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald emphasizes that the decision on mask mandates remains a local one. Despite the CDC recommending universal indoor mask-wearing in high-risk counties, only four New York counties currently fall into the “medium” risk category.