The New York state Department of Health is continuing the long battle of combatting COVID-19, as well as the relatively new challenge of the monkeypox virus, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday.

“COVID continues to be ever present,” she said, adding that deaths remain very low as new variants have led to a rise in cases in parts of the state in recent weeks.

Data from the governor’s office on Monday put the state’s seven-day average per 100,000 cases at 30.53, which is “not that much higher than it was a month ago,” Hochul said. The rate is higher in New York City, where the city department of health on Friday recommended the use of "high-quality masks" in indoor public settings and in crowded outdoor places.

Despite this, Hochul echoed what she said in western New York on Monday that no new pandemic-related restrictions are anticipated, though she said she still has the right to implement them if the state deems them necessary.

“Right now, we just want people to be smart,” Hochul said.

Along with COVID-19, the state has been monitoring the spread of the monkeypox virus, which was first reported in New York City in May. Hochul said on Tuesday that the state has reported 238 cases of that virus, with 223 of them in New York City.

“It’s rare; it’s a viral infection, rarely fatal, but very unpleasant,” Hochul said. “You can end up with permanent scarring. It can be painful.”

Hochul said she talked to the White House on Tuesday about vaccine efforts on that front.


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