ALBANY, NY – The New York State Department of Health is urging New Yorkers to stay vigilant when it comes to COVID-19. This comes after new subvariants of Omicron have been identified in New York State.

Over the past few weeks, the Department of Health has been investigating higher than average COVID rates in Central New York. Two new subvariants now account for 80 percent of all cases in the state and are likely to blame for the increase.

The New York State Health Commissioner saying in part, “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.”

According to the state, more than 38 million vaccine doses have been administered. Dr. Jim Saperstone weighing in on preliminary data of the new virus variants .

“it’s not nearly as severe as the original delta and probably more like the original omicron variant,” says Saperstone.

Saperstone says while people will be traveling as the weather gets better, he doesn’t think COVID will be as bad as it was during the winter months.

“we got a lot of immunity from that last variant because we we’ve basically immunized people who didn’t want to get immunized or were not fully immunized. This kinda helped move some of the herd immunity along,” says Saperstone.

However, he still urges people to take precaution. As cases continue to climb, Governor Hochul recently saying in a radio interview that she is going to protect the health of New Yorkers and the Economy, adding she’s not going to shut it down again.