Just when you thought COVID-19 dropped out of the news cycle, it releases a new variant. With a few more months of a most-likely brutal winter ahead of us in Western New York, this is not good news. We have the highest rate of positive cases and there's a new variant that is spreading quickly in New York State.

NYC Experiencing Uptick In Covid Cases
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The New COVID-19 Variant Is Spreading Quickly In New York State

"New COVID" was trending on Twitter recently and unfortunately, its popularity is not a good thing. The New York State Department of Health announced today, Friday, January 6, 2023, that the XBB.1.5 variant, now makes up over 50 percent of COVID-19 cases in the state. It's now the dominant variant in New York and it appears that it spreads quicker than other variants that are circulating.

For samples of SARS-CoV-2 collected between December 18 -- December 31, 2022 from New York that are sequenced and uploaded into GISAID, 98.2% were the Omicron variant. During this time period, 6.1% of all sequences were lineage BA.2, 0.0% were BA.4, 5.6% were BA.5, 10.6% were BQ.1, 16.4% were BQ.1.1, 7.6% were XBB and 51.9% were XBB.1.5, all of which are Omicron variants.

Add influenza and respiratory syncytial virus into the mix and it could spell disaster.

WNY Currently Has The Highest COVID-19 Positivity Rate In The State

Mobile Clinic Delivers Vaccine to Central American Indigenous Residents in Los Angeles
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As of Thursday, January 5, 2023, the COVID-19 7-day average positivity rate in WNY is 12.77%.

The statewide 7-day average is 8.58%. Here are the rest of the regions' percentages:

North Country - 6.47%
Finger Lakes - 7.21%
Central New York - 7.26%
Southern Tier - 7.40%
New York City - 8.02%
Mohawk Valley - 8.21%
Capital Region - 8.56%
Long Island - 9.66%
Mid-Hudson - 10.04%

Governor Hochul said,

I urge everyone to remain vigilant and continue to use all available tools to keep themselves, their loved ones and their communities safe and healthy. Stay up to date on vaccine doses, and test before gatherings or travel. If you test positive, talk to your doctor about potential treatment options.

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