New York (WABC)—— Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York State is taking new steps to protect people from COVID-19 amid reports of a new variant of the coronavirus.
Tuesday’s announcement comes after the state saw an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the summer.
“While New Yorkers may wish to rid themselves of COVID-19, COVID-19 has not wiped us out,” Governor Hochul said. “With hospitalizations and reported cases increasing this summer, I strongly urge everyone to take appropriate precautions to protect the Yourself and your community. To keep New Yorkers safe, my administration will continue to monitor the situation, share information on new boosters as soon as possible and continue to provide N-95 masks statewide.”
Hochul said the Ministry of Health and the world-renowned Wadsworth Center were continuing to monitor and analyze samples of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The ongoing dual strategy of wastewater monitoring and laboratory analysis has proven critical to New York State’s ability to understand the spread of the variant and its potential impact on public health, officials said.
The Wadsworth Center immediately ramped up early detection efforts in New York for the new BA.2.86 variant. Analysts scoured wastewater data from the past six months to confirm that no new strains have been identified in New York.
This process, they say, will continue to be used to help monitor for new variants in wastewater samples.
The Wadsworth Center is also coordinating with health care professionals and partner laboratories across the state to expand the pool of clinical COVID-19 samples submitted for analysis. Hopefully this will increase the chances of detecting BA.2.86 if it goes into that state.
“The Department of Health remains vigilant for changes in the virus that may further threaten our public health,” said State Health Commissioner Dr James McDonald. “We will continue to monitor for the emergence of new strains, with particular attention to BA. The most genetically divergent strain we have seen since the Omicron variant of . These major changes are noteworthy because mutations may allow the virus to evade previous detection.” “Remember, COVID-19 is now a treatable disease, The test is simple and highly accurate. Antiviral drugs such as Paxlovid are most effective when started within five days of the onset of symptoms.”
Officials also said the state will continue to provide high-quality masks and testing kits to state and county officials upon request.
We encourage all New Yorkers to discuss with their physicians the updated COVID-19 vaccine that is expected to be available this fall.
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