New York's COVID-19 case tally surged 37% last week while hospitalizations spiked 24%, prompting health officials to expand recommendations to wear masks indoors in public spaces across 23 counties.
New York reported 49,500 cases in the week ending Sunday, up from 36,180 new cases the prior week. COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals statewide last week totaled 3,219, up from 2,603.
New York ranked second among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.
The uptick in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations stemmed in part from the spread of highly contagious omicron subvariants, health officials noted, with recent holiday gatherings held indoors offering potential venues for fueling outbreaks.
Nationally, coronavirus cases increased about 57% from the week before, with 351,599 cases reported. Across the country, 42 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.
Indoor mask wearing recommendations for 23 "high-risk" counties now covered large sections of upstate New York, including much of the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier, according to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines based on COVID-19 infection rates and the strain on local hospitals. That's up from 10 counties on April 18.
Here are the "high-risk" NY counties:
St. Lawrence County
Another 16 counties across the state, including Westchester, currently fall under the "medium-risk" category, meaning recent case and hospitalization trends could soon warrant masking in public spaces.
While still well below the initial omicron strain's peak in early January, when New York reported 90,000 new cases in one day, the rise in infections and hospitalizations over the past month illustrated the virus' ability to keep mutating and spreading.
Some prior waves of infections during the pandemic, however, have receded as weather conditions improved and people spent more time outdoors where the virus struggles to spread.
Yet the rise of the omicron subvariants has fueled the current uptick in cases, as authorities tried to balance the push to reduce pandemic-related disruptions to daily life against the need to renew calls for people to take steps to limit the virus' spread, such as mask wearing.
Further, New York's mask mandate for all public transit settings statewide will remain in place for the "short term" despite a Florida judge voiding a federal mask mandate for public transportation, Gov. Kathy Hochul said last week.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 deaths have begun to increase in New York after lagging behind infections and hospitalizations. A total of 117 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday, up from 59 deaths the prior week.
How COVID is spreading in New York
In the latest week, Westchester County saw COVID-19 cases jump nearly 39%, reporting 2,429 cases and six deaths.
Rockland County's cases leaped 20%, reporting 601 cases and one death.
Putnam County's cases surged 47%, reporting 216 cases and one death.
Orange County's cases increased 25%, reporting 858 cases and eight deaths.
Dutchess County's cases spiked 85%, reporting 598 cases and two deaths.
Upstate, Monroe County's cases spiked 55%, reporting 2,615 cases and four deaths.
Oneida County's cases leaped 44%, reporting 1,123 cases and five deaths.
Broome County's cases increased 39%, reporting 799 cases and three deaths.
Within New York, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in:
Oneida County with 491 cases per 100,000 per week.
Oswego County with 487.
Tompkins County with 465.
The Centers for Disease Control says high levels of community transmission begin at 100 cases per 100,000 per week. Weekly case counts rose in 61 of 62 counties across New York from the previous week.
New York ranked 7th among states in share of people receiving at least one shot, with 90.1% of its residents at least partially vaccinated. The national rate is 77.5%, a USA TODAY analysis of CDC data shows. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are the most used in the United States, require two doses administered a few weeks apart.
In the week ending Sunday, New York reported administering another 193,193 vaccine doses, including 25,351 first doses. In the previous week, the state administered 245,669 vaccine doses.
A total of 5,123,612 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 68,231 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 80,984,914 people have tested positive and 991,254 people have died.
New York's COVID-19 hospital admissions rising
USA TODAY analyzed federal hospital data as of Sunday, April 24.
Likely COVID patients admitted in the state:
Last week: 3,219
The week before that: 2,603
Four weeks ago: 2,002
Likely COVID patients admitted in the nation:
Last week: 40,571
The week before that: 37,500
Four weeks ago: 39,316
Hospitals in 37 states reported more COVID-19 patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 25 states had more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care beds. Hospitals in 42 states admitted more COVID-19 patients in the latest week than a week prior, the USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Health and Human Services data shows.
The USA TODAY Network is publishing localized versions of this story on its news sites across the country, generated with data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control. If you have questions about the data or the story, contact Mike Stucka at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on New York State Team: NY COVID cases surge 37%. CDC urges wearing masks in these 23 counties