The local death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic continues its grim upward march.

Broome County on May 19 reported two more lives lost bringing the total to seven for the week.  Broome County has now lost 518 residents to the pandemic. Chenango County added two names to the death rolls for a total of 122 deaths and Cortland County May 19 reported another death, bringing their total to 121.

CDC COVID Community transmission map-counties in New York
CDC COVID Community transmission map-counties in New York
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Health officials are saying the latest subvariants of the coronavirus are not only more transmissible, but are also sending more people to the hospital with serious illness and resulting in a rise in the death rate.

Almost all of New York State is listed at high transmission risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The CDC county-by-county map updated on May 19 showed only seven out of the 62 counties in the state were at medium risk. One of those counties is Cortland and only Orange County listed as low. All other counties, including Broome, Tioga, Chenango and Delaware, were in the shading for high risk for transmission of the coronavirus and COVID-19.

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Officials are advising that people in high-risk counties should be vaccinated and up-to-date on booster shots, wear masks indoors in addition to social distancing and personal hygiene practices to avoid contracting and spreading the virus.   If you feel sick, test for COVID and stay at home. If you test positive, contact your doctor and record your positive result with the county health department.

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Meanwhile, the Broome County Health Department plans to be open Saturday. May 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to administer the Pfizer booster shot and the pediatric COVID vaccine.  To schedule and appointment go to www.gobroomecounty.com and click on COVID-19 VACCINE.

COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Broome County next week are scheduled for the George F. Johnson Library, Johnson City Senior Center, the Health Department and Central United Methodist Church in Endicott.

People outside Broome County can find vaccine information at www.vaccines.gov.

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