NYC Health Dept. encourages 'all New Yorkers to wear masks' in public indoor settings, outdoor crowds

Crowds of shoppers in SoHo this year
Crowds of shoppers in SoHo this year. Photo credit Richard B. Levine

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) -- New York City health officials reiterated its guidance Friday that New Yorkers should wear masks in all indoor public settings and in outdoor crowds amid “high levels” of COVID-19. It is not, however, new guidance.

“We're currently seeing high levels of COVID-19 in NYC,” the Health Department said. “To help slow the spread, all New Yorkers should wear a high-quality mask, such as an N95, KN95 or KF94 in all public indoor settings and around crowds outside.”

The seven-day positivity rate in the city has surged to 14.6%, the highest level since January. Many parts of the city have positivity rates over 20%, including swaths of Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.

All five boroughs are now experiencing “high” levels of community spread, as are Nassau and Westchester counties, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many neighborhoods in New York City have positivity rates over 20%
Many neighborhoods in New York City have positivity rates over 20%. Photo credit NYC.gov

The uptick has been attributed to a new strain of the highly contagious omicron variant.

Mayor Eric Adams warned Thursday that “new variants are finding their way into the city.”

“As they come about, we continue to pivot and shift,” the mayor said.

Last week, the city scrapped its COVID-19 alert system, just months after it launched. Adams said the color-coded alert system was “fighting an old war.”

The system “was not fitting the new wave and the new variant,” he said.

The mayor promised to “create new weapons to fight this new war” as the city faces yet another wave in the third summer of the pandemic.