Broome County Executive Jason Garnar is painting a grim picture for the next few weeks as Health officials prepare for the reports of new cases of COVID-19 infections coming from New Year’s celebrations.

Garnar says January is on board to be the "most difficult of the pandemic."

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In his last COVID briefing of the year, Garnar implored residents to act responsibly to try to take the strain off the close to overwhelmed healthcare system that is dealing with normal cases in addition to the surge coronavirus infections. He says everyone should keep healthcare workers, the elderly and those with immune-compromised systems in mind and take all steps they can to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
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The Democrat say he expects this month to be the most difficult of the pandemic, now entering its second year.

Garnar says even if the Omicron variant of the coronavirus turns out to cause less severe illness than the Delta variant that has put dozens of residents in the hospital, it is much more transmissible and hospitals and emergency rooms are swamped. It’s also the season for people with severe cases of influenza to end up in the hospital.

Health officials say getting the vaccine is the best assurance to avoiding becoming seriously ill and for those who are vaccinated, getting the booster as soon as possible can help guard against serious illness even if they do become infected again.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has extended the mask mandate that requires all businesses to have their staff and clients wear masks or show proof of vaccination now running through February 1.

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