Health officials are urging residents to take many precautions because many deadly illnesses are spreading across New York State.

On Monday, Governor Kathy Hochul urged New Yorkers to take precautions this holiday season to protect themselves against multiple illnesses that are spreading across the Empire State.

COVID, RSV, Flu Spreading In New York State

Drazen Zigic
Drazen Zigic

"As many New Yorkers look forward to gathering with friends and family during the Thanksgiving holiday, we should also embrace the commonsense measures we know to be effective at reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses," Hochul said.

There has been an increase in the number of respiratory infections over the past few weeks.

Respiratory viruses like RSV, the flu and COVID continue to rise nationwide and New York State. Officials say the flu and RSV is spreading while COVID is still a very serious health threat.

Children, Elderly At Risk In New York


Young children, older individuals and residents with underlying health conditions are most at risk of serious issues, officials say.

"RSV, influenza and COVID-19 can be especially dangerous for very young children, New Yorkers 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions. As a result of this threat, the state Department of Health issued a Health Advisory Notice this fall to alert hospitals, local health departments, laboratories, emergency rooms, and other healthcare providers to remain vigilant against rising respiratory illnesses," Hochul's office stated.

Flu Is "Widespread" Across New York State For 6 Straight Weeks

New York State's Department of Health's statewide surveillance of the flu found the illness has been "geographically widespread for six consecutive weeks."

The number of laboratory-confirmed flu cases has nearly tripled over the past three weeks, while hospitalizations have more than doubled, according to New York State Health officials.

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Tips To Avoid Illness Include Wearing A Mask

Health officials recommend residents get vaccinated against COVID and the flu as well as practice good hygiene such as washing hands and covering up coughs. Wearing a mask is also recommended.

"While the simplest thing to do is regularly wash your hands and practice good respiratory hygiene, like covering your cough, one of the key things we learned in our battle against COVID-19 is that wearing a well-fitting mask can also dramatically reduce the spread of other respiratory viruses, including flu and RSV," Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said.

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The CDC has designated these 12 Upstate New York counties as currently "high-risk" for COVID as of October 12, 2022 and is recommending residents wear masks because of that designation. The designation is based on the number of hospital admissions per 100,000 residents in a 7 day period. 8 of the 9 counties below are in Upstate New York with 5 In the Capital Region receiving the "high" designation.

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