The masks are back in Central New York.

Covid cases are on the rise in several counties across the state and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending putting the face masks back on.

The CDC masking recommendations are broken down into three levels - low, medium, and high, and are based more on potential hospital threats and less on positive tests.

Levels are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. Take precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 based on the COVID-19 Community Level in your area.

Masks are only recommended in areas with high levels. Nine counties in New York are in the high-level category, three in Central New York.

High-Level Counties

Albany County
Columbia County
Fulton County
Jefferson County
Montgomery County
Onondaga County
Orange County
Oswego County
Rensselaer County

Kids returning to school, the New York State Fair and concert season can be blamed for the increase in COVID cases. “I think it’s the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Mitchell Brodey, an infectious disease expert.

You can see the county-by-county breakdown on the COVID Data Tracker at

Masks are recommended, not mandated in the 9 high-level counties. The CDC also recommended updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older and Moderna for people ages 18 years and older on September 1, 2022.

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