Federal COVID-19 map recommends masks for many upstate counties

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The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its most recent advisory on COVID-19 levels is urging the wearing of masks in nearly 40 counties in New York, including most of Upstate New York, including the Mohawk Valley region.

In its updated COVID Community Levels map on Thursday, the CDC shows that more than 90% of the U.S. is in the “low” risk (green) category, however 56 counties in the nation — including some three dozen in New York — are in the “high” risk (orange), “medium” (yellow) or “low” (green) risk.

While not required by state or local regulations, the new CDC guidelines for masking are based on COVID-19 hospitalizations, hospital capacity and new COVID-19 cases.

Masks are not recommended indoors, including in schools, in areas with medium or low community levels, though immunocompromised people and others at high risk for severe illness may still want to wear face coverings indoors and avoid large crowds, according to the CDC report.

Among the counties at high risk, according to the CDC include: Herkimer, Madison and Oneida counties.

Also on the list are the following counties: Albany, Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, Clinton, Cortland, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Hamilton, Jefferson, Livingston, Monroe County, Montgomery, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schuyler, Seneca, St. Lawrence, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wyoming and Yates. Lewis County was one of 12 counties in the state at medium risk, according to the CDC, along with Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Essex, Nassau, Otsego, Putnam, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster counties.

On Wednesday, the state reported regional seven-day infection positivity rates: Central New York measured 11.66%; the Mohawk Valley was set at 10.33% and the North Country was 8.88%. For more information, statewide COVID-19 information and data (including county-based data breakouts) has been collected in one online spot at: https://on.ny.gov/3rw82oG.

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