This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NEW YORK — As COVID-19 cases slowly rise in the area, the city’s health committee chairman is saying that the Delta variant is now the dominant strain of the virus.

City Councilmember Mark Levine tweeted out Thursday that Delta variant cases are now making up 69% of new cases in the city. That’s a rise from 44% the week before.

New York City reported 409 new cases on Thursday.

Levine encouraged unvaccinated residents to do so as soon as possible.

“Delta is dangerous,” he said. “If you are unvaccinated, the time to get your shot is NOW.”

The 7-day rolling average shows 407 new cases daily — that’s double the infections from a week ago. City health officials are sounding the alarm. 

“As the city‘s doctor, what keeps me up at night is thinking of those New Yorkers who are unvaccinated,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi.

One plan of attack is now the neighborhood approach — getting the vaccines directly to New Yorkers. There are over 800 vaccination centers throughout the city, including 75 pop-up sites like mobile vaccination vans. 

Dr. Fred Davis is the associate chair of emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He explained to PIX11 why the Delta variant is so highly contagious.

“It allows mutations on the spike protein, which makes it easier to get in and infect cells,” said Davis. “When it [infects] someone, it actually reproduces so there’s much higher volume of this virus in someone’s respiratory tract.”

Summer travel and easing of masks mandates have seemingly helped the variants gain ground. 

The most recent report out of New Jersey — studying cases for the week ending on June 26 — show that 40% of all new COVID cases are of the Delta variant, according to the state’s health department. While not a majority, that does make it the most common strain in the Garden State.

PIX11 News’ Shirley Chan contributed to this story.