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All but one of New York’s 62 counties have high or medium COVID-19 risk, triggering recommendations for masking in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status.

Forty-five New York counties, including Suffolk and Nassau, have high community levels of COVID-19, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sixteen counties, including four of the five counties within the City of New York, have medium levels. The only county in the state with a low community level is Bronx County.

CDC recommends people in areas of high and medium community levels wear masks in indoor public spaces and on public transportation and stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. People who develop symptoms should get tested and those at high risk for severe illness should consider taking additional precautions.

“These public health measures, as well as ensuring proper air ventilation when gathering, will help reduce COVID-19 transmission in communities and lower the risk of serious illness and hospitalization for individuals,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a press release this afternoon.

Suffolk County had 65.8 cases per 100,000 population on May 11, according to state health department data.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have also been steadily increasing in Suffolk since the beginning of May. There were 187 COVID patients in Suffolk hospitals on May 12, up from 124 on April 30 and 54 on April 1. The current number of hospitalizations matches that of Aug. 20 last year, after the Delta variant surge got underway in the downstate region.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.