NEW YORK (PIX11) — Rates of COVID-19 infection have crept back up near 20% in some parts of New York City, as new omicron subvariants are on the rise and cold weather is on the way.

In the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, for example, the 7-day positivity rate for the last week sits at 19.39%, according to government data. That’s closely followed by the Richmond Hill section of Queens, where the figure sits at 18.68%.

Health officials are blaming the current increase on subvariants like BQ. 1, BQ. 1.1, and BA.4.6. A new study by the New England Journal of Medicine found the BA.4.6 strain demonstrating immune-dodging abilities, posing a threat to both vaccinated and previously-infected individuals.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan warned earlier this month that a winter surge in the coronavirus was a very real possibility.

“We should not be surprised if there’s an increase in transmission into the winter,” he said, urging New Yorkers to get the latest available booster shots.

And the World Health Organization on Wednesday said that COVID-19 continues to be classified as a public health emergency of international concern, a designation that leaves continued research and funding on the table. The organization noted that though the weekly number of deaths from COVID-19 is the lowest it’s been since the start of the pandemic, it remains high relative to other viruses.