It comes as news of the Omicron COVID-19 variant is spreading through other parts of the world, from Europe to South Africa — though it has not been detected in NYC (or the U.S.) as of yet. As of Monday, Nov. 29, cases were discovered in North America for the first time, in Canada.
The Delta variant is still the most prevalent strain in NYC, commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dr. Dave A. Chokshi, said in a press conference. He also added that based on what is known about Omicron’s spread, they expect to detect it within the next few days in NYC.
Update on the omicron variant: There are currently NO confirmed cases of the omicron variant in NYC. Delta remains the dominant strain – about 98% of sequenced specimens. We do anticipate detecting omicron in the coming days, based on what we know about its global spread.🧵
— Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi, MD (@NYCHealthCommr) November 29, 2021
“The variant’s emergence lends urgency to the importance of the precautions we’ve all become accustomed to: vaccination, masking and testing,” he explained.
For masking, the commissioner is issuing an advisory today (Nov. 29) strongly recommending that “all New Yorkers wear a mask at all times when indoors and in a public setting.”
BREAKING: @NYCMayor and @NYCHealthCommr announce a mask advisory is in effect. Every New Yorker, regardless of vaccination status, is encouraged to wear a mask in indoor public settings. https://t.co/gwDC6V3lBT
— NYC Mayor's Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) November 29, 2021
Of course, this is an advisory, not a mandate, so no one will be required to wear one (as of now). Still, it is highly encouraged to wear one when you are in “indoor public settings” — if you are vaccinated or not — which includes:
- Groceries stores
- Building lobbies
- Retail stores, etc.
The City and Department of Health are continuing to ask New Yorkers to get vaccinated, including their booster shot, which is now available to any and all New Yorkers 18+. Children ages 5-11 can now also get vaccinated in NYC.
They also ask anyone who has traveled for the holidays get tested as soon as possible.
Find out more information on NYC Health & Hospitals.