New York City Health Officials are once again urging the public to wear face masks in indoor public spaces and crowded outdoor events as the number of COVID-19 and flu cases increase.
“The holiday season is about togetherness and there is a way to gather safely – even as respiratory viruses in our city are unusually high,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “It starts with protecting yourself. Vaccination and boosters are critical but so are common sense precautions like masking when indoors or among crowds and staying home if you don’t feel well. Also, get tested before getting together, and get treated quickly if you test positive. We want everyone to have a happy and – most of all – healthy holiday.”
The Commissioner’s Advisory also urges people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu, even if they have been vaccinated previously. Everyone ages six months or older should get their COVID-19 primary series if they haven’t already and receive the updated bivalent COVID-19 booster when eligible. An annual flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. Many pharmacies and doctors’ offices offer both flu and COVID-19 vaccines, and it is safe to get them at the same time.
The City will continue to make vaccination and masking resources available to New Yorkers. For example, between Oct. 29 and Nov. 25, around 70 community partners, along with Health Department staff, carried out the following activities:
- Engaged 83,558 community members at 917 in-person street level outreach events.
- Engaged 4,109 community members at 122 in-person community conversations.
- Engaged 45,093 virtual community members* at 29 virtual community conversations.
- Made 24,367 vaccine referrals, 6,181 testing referrals and 38,778 referrals to other health and social services.
- Distributed 116,066 pieces of educational literature, 344,576 face masks and 80,526 Home Tests Kits.
This is part of the overall engagement effort since July 2021 to Nov. 25, 2022, including:
- Engaged 1,664,561 community members at 30,544 in-person street level outreach events.
- Made 1,011,454 vaccine referrals, 272,872 testing referrals and 546,377 referrals to other health and social services.
- Distributed 5,402,745 pieces of educational literature, 3,602,719 KN95 face masks and 614,023 Home Tests Kits.
This does not include the extensive resources provided by partners such as Test-and-Trace and others.
The city also continues to launch vaccination pop-ups and other efforts to promote vaccine access and equity.
People who are at increased risk of severe illness from respiratory viruses, including people age 65 and older, infants, people with a weakened immune system, people with certain underlying medical conditions, people who are pregnant, and people who are not up to date on flu or COVID-19 vaccinations should consider additional precautions to avoid exposure to respiratory viruses, such as wearing a higher quality mask, such as KN95 and KF94 mask or N95 respirator, limiting attendance at large indoor gatherings, wearing a mask when gathering with others, and asking people to wear a mask and get a COVID-19 test prior to gathering.
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