NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi issued a new advisory on Tuesday advising older adults, people with underlying health conditions, and people who are household members or caregivers of those individuals who are at risk for COVID-related illness to stay at home and limit all activities except for medical or essential purposes.
"That means stopping non-essential activities, staying in as much as possible, and avoiding social activities outside of your household," Chokshi said at a press conference this morning.
The city states that underlying health conditions that increase your risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include "cancer, heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, obesity, immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, smoking, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." (A full list of conditions that may increase the risk of severe illness can be found on the CDC website.)
Anyone who falls under this advisory should wear a face covering at all times indoors and outdoors; limit interactions with other people as much as possible; not have guests in the home, except necessary caregivers; avoid travel within and outside the city; and continue to practice routine and necessary precautions such as maintaining six feet of distance from others and maintaining health care routines.
"We need you if you're older, if you have pre-existing conditions, to take additional precautions," Mayor Bill de Blasio added. He also encouraged all New Yorkers to get the flu shot if they haven't already, and also donate blood if at all possible.
This advisory comes as the city's coronavirus numbers continue to tick up steadily. Mayor de Blasio said that according to the city's latest data, the daily number of people admitted to hospitals is up to 132, with 58% of them testing positive for COVID-19; new reported cases on a seven day average is 1,685; the daily percentage of New Yorkers who have tested positive is 5.72%, and the seven day positive test average is at 4.14%.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a similar uptick according to the state's data: he said on Tuesday that the overall daily positive state percent is at 4.96%, and the percent without microclusters factored in is 4.4%. New York City is at a 2.92% positivity rate on a seven-day rolling average, according to the state's data.
"The numbers are going up," Cuomo said. "We expected the numbers to go up. My projection is that the numbers will continue to go up through the holiday season...Thanksgiving was not a day or weekend, it was the commencement of the holiday seasons. Increased social activity increases the viral transmission."
"I think the rate will continue through New Years, I hope the rate stabilizes post-New Year's Day, so I think you're looking at mid-January for stabilization of the rate, I hope I hope I hope," Cuomo added. "The numbers are going up. The number one priority when you get into this situation is hospitalization and overwhelming hospitals."
Dr. Mitchell Katz, the president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, said this morning that they have been preparing for an increase in cases; as of now, Health + Hospitals ICU are about two-thirds full, and they are not overwhelmed at any of their 11 hospitals. "I've talked with my colleagues through the greater New York association, and all the hospitals right now are prepared to take more patients if we need to," he noted.