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NYC may consider masks indoors as it nears Covid high alert level 

New York City is nearing the coronavirus high alert level (Pictures: Getty Images/EPA)

New York City is poised to hit the high Covid-19 alert level in the coming days, prompting health officials to strongly recommend mask-wearing in public indoor spaces.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued an advisory on Monday urging all residents to wear high-quality masks, such as KN95 and N95s, when indoors or in shared settings like grocery stores, building lobbies, offices or stores.

Mayor Eric Adams’ office said the change to a ‘high’ alert could come within days.

New York City has been in a ‘medium’ Covid-19 alert since May 2, after surpassing the threshold of 200 new cases each day per 100,000 residents over a seven day period. The shift to a ‘high’ alert status would require Covid-19 hospitalizations to hit a different benchmark of 10 new admissions per 100,000 residents on a rolling basis.

The advisory also urges people at a high risk of severe illnesses and death from the coronavirus, especially those older than 65 and those who are unvaccinated, to continue wearing a mask.

Earlier this month, the mayor announced the distribution of an additional 16.5million at home Covid-19 tests and 1million high-quality masks over the next month to 1,600 public schools and more than 1,000 community organizations, libraries, cultural institutions, houses of worship and offices of elected officials participating in the at home distribution program, according to ABC 7.

The city has distributed 20million at home tests to date, meaning the additional tests will bring the total to over 36million tests delivered.

‘It’s never been easier for New Yorkers to get a free at-home test, a high-quality mask, or access COVID-19 treatments in New York City,’ Adams said.

‘At-home tests and masks provide reliable and convenient ways for New Yorkers to confidently and safely protect themselves and others and allow them to enjoy our city. I encourage all New Yorkers to go out and pick up a free at-home test as soon as they can to remain prepared, to mask up in indoor public settings, and to take advantage of the life-saving treatments we now have readily available to fight this virus.’

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