State COVID rates double during the past month
Lauren Stanforth is reporting for the Times Union that the number lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York are on the increase, with the percentage of tests coming back positive more than doubling from 1.4 percent as of March 8, to 3.7 percent on April 8. The state was last at that level on February 10, when 3.6 percent of tests came back positive based on a seven-day average. In the Capital Region, positive tests doubled, from 2.5 percent last month, to 5 percent as of the data reported on April 8. Albany County has the highest positivity in the region, at 6.5 percent. The infection rate in Central New York is much higher than in the rest of the state, with more than 10 percent of lab tests coming back positive, based on a seven-day average. According to the Times Union, infection rates are likely higher than in other states because New York only uses lab-based PCR tests for its data. As the initial omicron surge began to wane in February, its variant, BA-2, became the dominant variant in the U.S. and worldwide. While experts say it is more contagious, it appears that being fully vaccinated and boosted works well to combat the BA-2 variant. Hospitalizations statewide remain low, fewer than it was a month ago. The CDC also has most of the state still at low risk of COVID-19, but Onondaga, Oswego and Cayuga counties remain among fewer than 20 counties nationwide at high risk as of April 10. The state Health Department urged indoor mask-wearing in those counties, as well as in Madison and Cortland counties. The Southern Tier, as well as Delaware and Essex counties, are at "medium" risk. Last month the CDC approved a second booster shot for people over 50 and the immunocompromised. Read the full story in the Times Union.