The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised Suffolk County residents to wear masks while at indoor public spaces regardless of their vaccination status
The recommendation is due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the county. According to the Suffolk County Department of Health, for the week ending Dec. 3, there were 264-290 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and 14 died from the virus in the county. There were 4,168 new cases reported. The reinfection rate for Long Island increased from 10.3 to 18 per 100,000.
Flu cases have also increased. According to the SCDOH, during the week ending Dec. 3, flu cases increased in the county by 85%, from 1,577 confirmed cases to 2,916.
In a video posted to the SCDOH’s social media pages, Dr. Gregson Pigott, county health commissioner, said the COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (or RSV) infection rates are surging in Suffolk. The cases are in addition to the rise of other common seasonal infectious diseases.
“They are causing too many people to miss work or school and straining our health care systems,” Pigott said.
He urged residents to take precautions such as getting the vaccines for the flu and COVID, noting it is safe to take them together. He added the COVID bivalent booster “has shown to be effective against the older and newer strains of SARS-CoV-2.”
Pigott said the flu shot is a good match for this year’s circulating strains. Currently, there is no vaccine for RSV.
In the video, he reminded residents to wash their hands often and stay home when sick. He added that masks should be clean and well fitted, and used in enclosed public spaces.
“As we head into our third pandemic winter, let us be safe and do our best to protect one another,” Pigott said.