New York COVID cases rise 15% as omicron BA.5 subvariant spreads: Latest

·4 min read

New York's weekly tally of COVID-19 cases increased nearly 15% last week, as the omicron BA.5 subvariant fueled outbreaks on Long Island and in New York City while upstate counties remained at low risk of infection and hospital strain.

New York reported 41,642 new COVID-19 cases in the week ending Sunday. That's up from 36,317 cases the previous week.

New York ranked 21st 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.

Nationally, COVID-19 cases increased nearly 12% from the week before, with 800,077 cases reported. Across the country, 38 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

The BA.5 omicron subvariant's rise in recent weeks has hit Long Island the hardest. Nassau and Suffolk counties represented the only high risk category communities in the state due to their respective infection rates and capacity concerns at local hospitals, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

State and federal health officials urged people to wear masks indoors in public spaces in all counties within the high-risk category, regardless of vaccination status, to help curb the virus' spread. A handful of other counties in New York − including Westchester, Broome and Tioga − fell into the medium risk category.

Health officials across the country have been closely watching the BA.5 subvariant, which appears poised to replace an earlier strain first identified in upstate New York as the dominant variant nationally. The BA.5 subvariant accounted for about 31% of samples sequenced in the federal monitoring region of New York, New Jersey, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as of June 25, the latest data show.

That increase in BA.5 cases comes after the earlier omicron strain ignited outbreaks earlier this spring across much of upstate New York.

Yet the BA.5 surge's fate remains unclear as health officials struggled to gauge the true scope of outbreaks due, in part, to limited reporting of at-home COVID-19 positive test results. Prior years of the pandemic, however, have shown New York faced less-severe waves in the summer as more people spent time outdoors where the virus struggles to spread.

Meanwhile, a federal advisory panel voted 19-2 last week to reformulate COVID-19 booster shots for the fall to more directly target the omicron viral variant.

Vaccine: COVID vaccine for kids under 5 in NY off to slow start. What to know

How COVID is spreading regionally

  • In the latest week, Tompins County saw its COVID-19 cases decrease 6%, reporting 125 cases and no deaths.

  • Cortland County’s cases decreased 43%, reporting 20 cases and no deaths.

  • Cayuga County’s cases increased 18.4%, reporting 45 cases and one death.

  • Seneca County’s cases decreased 53.3%, reporting 14 cases and no deaths.

  • Schuyler County’s cases increased 66.7%, reporting 15 cases and no deaths.

  • Chemung County’s cases decreased about 30%, reporting 54 cases and one death.

  • Broome County’s cases remained flat, reporting 124 cases and zero deaths

Within New York, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in:

  • Queens County with 324 cases per 100,000 per week.

  • Manhattan with 320.

  • Staten Island with 318.

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 36 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Queens, Kings and Bronx counties.

>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

Across New York, cases fell in 26 counties, with the best declines in:

  • Monroe County, with 539 cases from 676 a week earlier.

  • Ontario County, with 60 cases from 157.

  • Livingston County, with 28 cases from 71.

In New York, 127 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 122 people were reported dead.

A total of 5,625,004 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 69,698 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data show. In the United States 87,843,561 people have tested positive and 1,017,848 people have died.

>> Track coronavirus cases across the United States

New York's COVID-19 hospital admissions rising

USA TODAY analyzed federal hospital data as of Sunday, July 3. Likely COVID patients admitted in the state:

  • Last week: 3,402

  • The week before that: 3,266

  • Four weeks ago: 3,569

Likely COVID patients admitted in the nation:

  • Last week: 65,244

  • The week before that: 61,335

  • Four weeks ago: 56,288

Hospitals in 33 states reported more COVID-19 patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 28 states had more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care beds. Hospitals in 40 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 mstucka@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on New York State Team: New York COVID cases rise 15% as omicron BA.5 subvariant spreads