Ten NY counties at highest risk for COVID in U.S.
Lauren Stanforth is reporting for the Times Union New York is the only state in the U.S. with multiple counties at high risk for COVID-19, according to the most recent data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, there are now 10 counties in the high-risk category: Broome, Cayuga, Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Tioga and Wayne. The information comes as the state has identified two highly contagious omicron sub-lineages that are making their way through Central New York and surrounding regions where the spread is most prevalent. In comparison, only one other county in the continental U.S. is at high risk of COVID-19 and it is in Kansas. Most counties nationwide are at low risk. However, there is evidence of increased risk in New England, with much of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont also now in the medium-risk category. Albany and Rensselaer counties, Berkshire County in Massachusetts and Bennington County in Vermont were also at medium risk as of April 17. The CDC's designation recommends that those in high-risk areas wear a mask indoors and get tested if symptoms develop. Medically vulnerable people are advised to take additional precautions to avoid infection. Hospitalizations in New York, while slightly increasing, are still very low compared to the omicron surge in January. The state noted late last week that in Central New York, where coronavirus spread is greatest, "use of therapeutics is up considerably," reporting an increase in the use of a drug called Paxlovid and the doubling of the use of Molnupiravir. Read the full story in the Times Union.