Here we go again. Top New York health officials are "alerting the public" about two new variants of COVID that are spreading rapidly in New York.

Officials believe these new variants are more contagious.

On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Health announced the emergence of two Omicron subvariants in New York State, BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1. Both variants are sub-lineages of BA.2, which now accounts for 80.6 percent of COVID-19 infections in New York.

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Health officials believe these new subvariants are about 25 to 30 percent more infectious than the original BA.2 variant.

Michele Ursi
Michele Ursi

Over the past few weeks, the Department has been investigating higher than average infection rates in Central New York, officials say.

Cases are also rising across New York, including the Hudson Valley.

In the Hudson Valley, over 400 news cases have been reported since Monday.

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Health Officials Believe Increase Is Linked To New Variants

"We are alerting the public to two Omicron subvariants, newly emerged and rapidly spreading in upstate New York, so New Yorkers can act swiftly," State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett stated. "While these subvariants are new, the tools to combat them are not. These tools will work if we each use them: get fully vaccinated and boosted, test following exposure, symptoms, or travel, consider wearing a mask in public indoor spaces, and consult with your healthcare provider about treatment if you test positive. I thank the Department's scientists for leading this effort and those contributing to this work throughout New York and around the world."

New York State health officials believe these highly contagious new variants are likely contributing to the rising cases.

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"The Department's findings are the first reported instances of significant community spread due to the new subvariants in the United States. At this time, there is no evidence of increased disease severity by these subvariants, though the Department is closely monitoring for any changes," the New York State Health Department stated in a press release.

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After determining the cause of elevated cases statewide, New York health officials urge New Yorkers to continue to take the following precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19:

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