New York City announced a new advisory for older adults and people with underlying health conditions to limit activities outside their homes, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rapidly increase in the city.

A sign in a Queens restaurant window urging New Yorkers to take COVID-19 precautions.

On Tuesday, New York City announced a new advisory for older adults and people with underlying health conditions to limit activities outside their homes, as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rapidly increase in the city. 

Aside from essential needs like medical care, grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy or traveling to work or school, the city’s health commissioner advises people at increased risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, as well as their household members and caregivers, to stay home. The advisory is recommended for New Yorkers 65 and older as well as those with conditions listed on the Centers for Disease Control’s website that may put people at greater coronavirus risk, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart conditions. 

Read our coverage of New York City’s Coronavirus crisis.

The new advisory also calls for those at risk to limit interactions with others as much as possible, avoid traveling within or outside of the city, and to avoid having guests in their homes aside from caregivers. These New Yorkers should wear a face covering indoors and outdoors at all times, including around people in their household who “have known exposure to COVID-19, are experiencing symptoms of the virus, or frequently interact with the public,” according to the city. 

The seven-day average rate of residents testing positive for coronavirus citywide was 4.14 percent on Tuesday, up from 3.31 percent a week prior and up significantly since the start of September, when the positivity rate hovered around 1 percent.

City Health Commissioner Dave A. Chokshi said Tuesday that 1,100 patients were hospitalized in the city due to COVID-19, the highest number since early June.

While Tuesday’s announcement was an advisory, Mayor Bill de Blasio said “much greater restrictions” may be ahead “if we are not successful in driving down these numbers soon.”

“We have to do this work individually if we want to avoid those restrictions,” he said.

Nicole Javorsky is a Report for America corps member.

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