With COVID numbers climbing, some institutions reinstate masks and vaccine necessities

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NEW YORK — As cases rise again, New York City health officials are considering increasing them COVID Alert level to “Code yellow”.

There are growing concerns of a spring wave across the country, with New York, New Jersey and Connecticut among the 27 states that have reported spikes in infections over the past week.

Health officials say hospitalization rates have been rising more slowly, but they’re rising, mostly among those who aren’t vaccinated. Now they are issuing new guidelines.

As some COVID restrictions slowly ease away, it’s a familiar feel again in the city.

New York City Health + Hospitals announced new visiting guidelines Monday. All visitors must provide proof of current vaccinations or have a negative COVID test within 48 hours, and patients can only receive two visitors at a time.

FIND TESTING SITES: Click here to view New York City’s testing location locator, including mobile locations and at-home dates

AVOID THE LINES: Click here to view test wait times from NYC Health+Hospitals

Masking is back at Columbia University. In the remaining weeks of the spring semester, masks are compulsory in the classrooms.

“A lot of my friends around me have contracted COVID lately, so I feel more comfortable wearing masks. But I also feel like it’s inconsistent at times,” said student Haru Yamanaka.

That’s according to the city’s health officer He expects the COVID alert level to rise from a low to medium risk next week.

“We will see a significant increase in cases. The good news, and I want to reassure New Yorkers, this is about preparation, not panic. It’s not about fear and worry,” said Dr. Ashwin Vasan.

The daily infection rate has increased from 760 on March 8 to more than 1,800 on April 5. There is now a positive daily average of 4.03%. It was 1% after the initial omicron surge.

“We’re starting to tell New Yorkers that they need to take precautions, especially around masking indoors,” said Dr. Vasan.

Mayor Eric Adams’ new COVID diagnosis put the spotlight on the Big Apple recovery. He was given antiviral drugs, which are available to New Yorkers free of charge, and held a virtual press conference Monday while he recovers.

“I believe the mere fact that I’m able to fight this virus with just a raspy voice is because I’ve taken the necessary steps to get empowered and vaccinated,” he said.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia is reinstating its indoor mask mandate next week as cases there have surged more than 50% over the past 10 days.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

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