ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — This week on Empire State Weekly, state leaders warned that multiple health viruses pose a risk to public health this holiday season. State health officials updated guidance on the dangers of COVID, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) this season.

Dr. Eugene Heslin—the first deputy commissioner and chief medical officer of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH)—explained that COVID safety precautions may have contributed to the new increase in RSV cases. While the respiratory virus is not new, he said that masking and social distancing of the pandemic may have reduced the number of children exposed to it last year. As restrictions relax, infections are increasing earlier than in previous years.

Also, this week, New York began to see winter weather, with a historic amount of snowfall in Buffalo. The Department of Transportation pushed to hire employees with over 500 new positions offered statewide to fill their staffing shortage.

Sam Zhou, the Assistant Commissioner of Operations and Asset Management with the New York Department of Transportation, said every time the state experiences snowfall and the full complement of plow truck drivers takes to the roads, they drive the equivalent of driving around the world one and a half times. If you’re interested in employment with the DOT, head to their hiring website.

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