New York City's health commissioner has signaled that the city's COVID-19 risk level will brought from "low" up to "medium" this week, in light of increasing COVID positivity and a projected post-Easter increase.
Infection numbers in the city have increased steadily since early-March. The city's positivity rate is near 4.5% overall, even topping 15% in the Financial District and Lincoln Square.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan is recommending New Yorkers once again mask up when indoors, especially if they don't know the vaccination status of the people they are going to be around.
The city unveiled a four-tier COVID alert system — low, medium, high and very high — to give New Yorkers a quick and easy reference for the present COVID threat on a given day.
When the city reaches "high" or "very high" levels, that means the health care services are under extreme pressure. It also means New Yorkers will be advised to avoid large gatherings.
While a rise in alert level could mean renewed COVID-related restrictions locally, Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul have both stated that COVID lockdowns will not be coming back.
The rise in COVID cases is mostly attributed to two Omicron subvariants, BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1, both of which are believed to be the most contagious versions yet of the novel coronavirus.
Neither subvariant, however, has been linked to more severe disease or proven to be more vaccine-resistant.