Consistent with the State's implementation of CDC guidance, use layered prevention strategies including staying up to date on vaccines and wearing masks if you are 2 years or older to help prevent illness. Use the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Level information to determine what prevention steps to take based on the latest data for your county. Further, the State’s health guidelines continue to be in effect for healthcare settings, adult care facilities, specialty hospitals certified by the Office for People with Disabilities, facilities regulated by the Office of Addiction Services and Supports, and clinical and hospital settings regulated by the Office of Mental Health per CDC guidelines and the Commissioner’s Determination.
- Follow all current guidance about mask wearing and social gatherings
- Get vaccinated and boosted when eligible
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before you eat.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard it in a closed container.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects
For people who feel sick or have symptoms of COVID-19:
- Stay home, away from others.
- Don’t go to work or school.
- Talk to a healthcare provider.
- Get tested for COVID-19.
For people who test positive for COVID-19:
Monitor Your Symptoms. Common symptoms are:
- Fever or chills
- New loss of taste or smell
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Emergency Warning Signs Include:
- Trouble breathing
- Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away
- Experience confusion or trouble waking up
- Bluish lips or face
Call for medical attention immediately.
*This list is not a complete list. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
People at High Risk of Severe Illness
Anyone can get COVID-19 and feel sick, but some people are at high risk for serious illness and even death.
These are some of the factors that could put you at high risk:
The risk of getting seriously sick from COVID-19 increases with age, especially starting at the age of 60. In New York, up to 87% of all COVID deaths were people over the age of 60. The risk of COVID-19 hospitalization or death is worse if you also have an underlying health condition.
Underlying Health Conditions
People with underlying or chronic health conditions (called "comorbidities") are especially vulnerable to serious illness, hospitalization, and death if they catch COVID-19. The disease can weaken their body or make their underlying health condition worse.
Below are the most common comorbidities that lead to serious COVID-19 complications:
- Heart disease (high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation, and more)
- Lung disease (asthma, COPD, and more)
- Obesity and overweight (any BMI greater than 25 kg/m2)
- Smoker (current or former)
- Liver disease (hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcohol-related illness, and more)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Dementia and Alzheimer's disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Blood disorders (sickle cell anemia, thalassemia)
- Disability (cerebral palsy, birth defects, intellectual and developmental disability, Down syndrome, ADHD)
- History of stroke
- History of substance use
- Immunocompromised, or have a weakened immune system (including people who have received or donated an organ or bone marrow for a transplant operation).
If you have any of the conditions on this list, make sure you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, and continue to wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands often to help prevent infection.
Due in part to a long-standing history and persistence of structural racism and inequities (known as the social determinants of health), many Black and Hispanic communities in the United States have experienced worse health outcomes from COVID-19 compared to other populations. This includes higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths for Black and Hispanic communities.
Anyone with one or more of the factors listed above who gets COVID-19 is more likely to:
- Be hospitalized
- Need intensive care
- Require a ventilator to help them breathe
If you have questions about a condition or factor not included on this list, talk to your health care provider about how best to manage your condition and protect yourself from COVID-19.
December 2022 - Information about common respiratory illnesses.