After months of low numbers, parts of upstate New York are once again seeing an uptick in COVID-19 community levels, according to new data released Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Friday, nine of the state’s 62 counties — all north of New York City — are now classified by the CDC as having “high” COVID-19 levels. They are all in Central New York and the Capital Region and include the cities of Syracuse and Albany.

This is the first time since May that this many upstate counties have seen a “high” rating.

The CDC uses a "high," "medium" and "low" classification, which is determined by the number of new cases in the county per 100,000 people in the past seven days; the number of new hospital admissions with COVID-19 in the past seven days per 100,000 people; and the percentage of staffed inpatient beds in use by patients with COVID-19 within a seven-day average.

A good amount of the upstate region, including Long Island, has a “medium” rating. Tompkins County, parts of Western New York, the North Country and New York City are in the “low” category.

With a "high" level, the CDC recommends wearing masks in indoor public areas and on public transportation. There are currently no local mask requirements in the affected areas, outside of the statewide requirement for them in state-regulated care settings. Gov. Kathy Hochul lifted a mask requirement for public transportation, correctional facilities and shelters earlier this month.

Nationwide, there are 107 counties the CDC said have “high” levels. State data shows the seven-day average of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people stands at 22.09. In recent months, New York health officials and those in other states have started using cases per 100,000 residents, and not the more traditional percentage of positive results of those who have been tested, as a more accurate way of measuring infection rates.

There are currently 2,306 people in the hospital.


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