A sudden spike in Covid cases, likely caused by the Omicron variant, is sweeping through New York City. And once again, long lines are stretching around the block at testing centers — from urgent care centers to mobile testing units.
The number of new cases reported statewide on Thursday alone — 18,276, more than 8,300 of them in New York City — appears to be the most new cases ever recorded in a single day for New York City, and was the highest total statewide since the winter surge last January.
— Sharon Otterman (@sharonNYT) December 16, 2021
The Omicron variant appears to be much more transmissible than earlier versions, and it appears to evade some of the protection offered by vaccines (though vaccinated people are still considered much better-protected than the unvaccinated).
Council member Mark Levine says that the city will now keep all city-run testing sites open 7 days a week. And if testing site lines are too long, people waiting will be given the option of taking a self-test home.
Testing site locations (both city-run and otherwise) are available here, and the city says it will open more sites.
* 500k at-home test kits and 1M masks to be distributed via 150 community groups throughout city, starts Monday
* All City-run test site will now be open 7 days/week
* 5 new City-run brick & mortar sites to be opened.
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) December 16, 2021
If you’re not vaxxed or boosted, now is the time to do it! Check out the Health Department’s links and advice below:
A fully vaccinated person is much less likely to get sick or spread the virus that causes COVID-19, especially if they have their booster shot. To find a vaccination site, visit nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692).
Testing remains an important part of reducing the spread of COVID-19. If you are feeling ill, believe you have been exposed, or have recently traveled or attended a gathering, visit nyc.gov/covidtest, text “COVID TEST” to 855-48, or call 311 to find a testing site near you.
All individuals, regardless of vaccination status or past COVID-19 infection, should wear a mask at all times when indoors and in public settings. All masks should cover the nose and the mouth and rest snugly above the nose, below the mouth, and on the sides of the face. Higher quality masks, such as KN95s or KF94s, can offer an additional layer of protection.
If you are feeling sick you should stay home and leave only to seek appropriate care and testing. If you are at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 infection, such as those with underlying health conditions, you should avoid crowded settings, particularly indoor gatherings. Gathering with others increases the risk of COVID-19, especially if not everyone is vaccinated.