New York: Governor Kathy Hochul has updated New Yorkers on the state’s progress in combating COVID-19, and outlined basic steps they can take to protect against the spread of viral respiratory infections that become more common in the winter season.
“I urge all New Yorkers to remain vigilant and continue to use all available tools to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe and healthy,” Governor Hochul said. “Be sure to stay up to date on vaccine doses, and test before gatherings or travel. If you test positive, talk to your doctor about potential treatment options.”
According details available on NYC’s website, the Governor Hochul is urging New Yorkers to take common prevention measures — like staying up to date on vaccines and practicing proper hygiene — to protect from the flu and COVID-19 and reduce the patient burden on local hospitals. The Governor reiterated these basic steps when she updated New Yorkers on the state’s winter health preparedness efforts last month.
Recently, the New York State Department of Health announced that the XBB.1.5. a variant is now the most dominant strain in New York, accounting for more than 50 percent of COVID-19 infections statewide. Emerging at a time when both COVID-19 and flu cases remain high, early data indicates that XBB.1.5. is more transmissible than other circulating variants, though there is not yet clear evidence of significant changes to virulence or severity of disease.
The New York State Department of Health’s weekly flu surveillance report for the week ending January 14, shows influenza remaining widespread throughout the state for a fifteenth consecutive week, with a total of 300,907 positive cases across all 62 counties reported to date. The report found that confirmed cases statewide dropped 50 percent, while overall hospitalizations were down 52 percent from the previous week, with the week, at 798 hospitalizations across the state.
Additionally, there were 13 outbreaks in acute care and long-term care facilities, the report determined. There were two additional pediatric deaths, leaving the total at eight statewide.
With flu season continuing and infections remaining widespread, Governor Hochul encourages all New Yorkers to get their annual flu vaccine. The flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 are both circulating, so getting vaccinated against both is the best way to stay healthy and to avoid added stress to the health care system.