Counties Frustrated Over New COVID Infection Rates in So. Tier
While the Southern Tier remains at the bottom of New York State's coronavirus infection rates, some county executives say they are concerned about the daily numbers.
Chenango and Broome County officials are expressing some frustration about an increase of a couple points in coronavirus cases lately.
Broome Executive Jason Garnar says positivity increases could be traced back to Easter travel and gatherings and Spring Break but also points to the need to get more people vaccinated.
Garnar says he’s tired of seeing daily new infection rates in the double digits when there had been a point when the county was noting new cases in the single digits. This week, the county’s total number of infections for the duration of the pandemic so far topped 17,000.
In Chenango County, Public Health Director of Patient Services, Barbara Ryan issued a statement saying "At times there are 10-30 new coronavirus positive cases per day." She says staff is continuing to work 7-days-a-week to doing contact tracing while simultaneously planning and operating vaccination clinics.
Ryan says the county has been vaccinating many home-bound residents in Chenango County and has a waiting list for those patients. That is one of the hard-to-reach groups the county is still trying to get to. Ryan asks homebound patients to call (607) 337-1660 to be added to the waiting list.
Garnar, along with other public and health officials say the key to “getting back to normal” and controlling the virus is to get as many people vaccinated and protected against illness and death as possible. Broome is seeing the rush for vaccination appointments dwindling and is opening more walk-in opportunities for residents now that eligibility is open for anyone age 16 and older.
Broome County Health Department officials say they are in communication with larger employers for a plan to take vaccinations to companies in order to get more people inoculated against COVID-19.
Broome County records over 44% of eligible residents have gotten at least one dose of vaccine but is working toward herd immunity of over 70%.