With Thanksgiving around the corner, and many Brooklyn residents set to gather with family and friends for the occasion, New York Governor Kathy Hochul is urging New Yorkers to take preventative measures this holiday season to prevent the spread of severe respiratory illnesses — including COVID-19, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus.
Amidst the time of the year when respiratory illnesses tend to run rampant, Hochul said New Yorkers need to be diligent in utilizing precautionary measures to protect the most vulnerable individuals, such as young children, older folks and people with health conditions.
"As many New Yorkers look forward to gathering with friends and family during the Thanksgiving holiday, we should also embrace the commonsense measures we know to be effective at reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses," Hochul said.
"Be sure to stay up to date on vaccines -- including flu shots and COVID-19 boosters. And if you do fall ill or develop symptoms, stay home and first seek treatment from your primary care provider."
According to the New York Department of Health, all three of the aforementioned respiratory illnesses are prevalent this time of the year.
Under the Department's statewide influenza surveillance, it found that the number of confirmed Flu cases that were reported had almost tripled over the past three weeks. Also, hospitalizations due to influenza had more than doubled in the same period.
As for COVID-19, the Department reported around 2,686 New Yorkers that had tested positive for the virus had been hospitalized as of Nov. 16. COVID-19 case levels reportedly remain moderate in the state and continue to pose a threat to New Yorkers, especially to those that are unvaccinated or immunocompromised.
The Health Department also announced that RSV has been more frequent than recent years and can be significantly harmful to older adults and children of a very young age.
To help protect against these contagious respiratory viruses, the Health Department recommended numerous precautions for Brooklynites this holiday season.
First, the Department of Health recommends that everyone stay updated on their various vaccines — including Flu and COVID-19. New Yorkers are also recommended to receive the recent bivalent booster to better protect against the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
In addition, the Department of Health said that NYC residents should maintain good hygienic practices to prevent the spread of illnesses. This includes regularly and thoroughly washing hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, as well as avoiding the urge to cough and sneeze into your hands.
The Department of Health also suggests wearing a well-fitting, high-quality mask for public indoor spaces, as well as staying home if sick or symptomatic.