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NYC enters 'high' COVID-19 alert status

Michael Gartland, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams upgraded New York City’s COVID-19 alert status to high on Tuesday due to a surge in people testing positive and being hospitalized for the virus.

The change in status from a medium risk alert to high risk comes as coronavirus hospital admissions have increased steadily over the past two months and as more and more New Yorkers are becoming ill.

“Now is the time to double down on protecting ourselves and each other by making choices that can keep our friends, neighbors, relatives and co-workers from getting sick,” the city’s Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a written statement Tuesday.

“As a city, we have the tools to blunt the impact of this wave, including distributing tests, masks and promoting treatments. Getting back to Low Risk depends on everyone doing their part, and if we follow guidance, our forecasts anticipate this wave’s peak will not last long. What we do now can make all the difference.”

Health officials have recommended New Yorkers mask up when indoors, but the status upgrade does not come with any new mandates.

The upgrade was triggered by two things, according to Health Department spokesman Patrick Gallahue.

 

One is that the number of hospital admissions per 100,000 New York City residents now stands at 10.2 — slightly higher than the 10 per 100,000 threshold set by the city.

The other trigger is the recent upswing in the number of people testing positive for the virus. As of Tuesday, that number stood at 308.51 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days. The total number of new cases citywide is 3,472, according to the latest city data. That’s nearly 3,000 cases more than what the city recorded in early March, when the number was 689.

Hospital occupancy for people with COVID-19 is rising too, but is not at a level that the city considers high risk yet, Gallahue said. The percentage of sick people who are staying in city hospitals is now at 4.24%, data posted on the city’s website shows. Gallahue said 10% is the number at which the hospital occupancy rate would be considered high risk.

“This is very unsettling,” said Noemi De Jesus-Aponte, a registered nurse at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

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