Liberty, NY – COVID-19 cases are on an upward track, and Sullivan County Public Health Services is urging everyone – vaccinated or not – to take proper precautions.
Community transmission is widespread, and nearly 28% of the local March cases thus far are among those 24 years old or younger – making young people the most impacted age group by COVID-19 in Sullivan County currently.
“For the past two weeks, we’ve seen a steady increase in active coronavirus cases across the County,” notes Public Health Director Nancy McGraw. “To go from 142 cases at the beginning of the month to 265 as of yesterday may not sound like much, but that is an 86% increase. Sullivan County’s 7-day average percentage positive rate is 6.7%, just below Orange County at 7.1%, and that’s got our attention. We are seeing about 30 new positive cases per day.”
The number of quarantined/isolated people in Sullivan County – 765 as of March 25 – is more than double what it was at the beginning of the month, and two more deaths have been logged just in March, for a total of 68 since the pandemic began a year ago.
Based on population density, the spread can be attributed not to specific places, but to human behavior and congregation of susceptible people. The most important and vital measure people can take to prevent the spread and potential overwhelming of the healthcare system is to get vaccinated when they are eligible, regardless of which vaccine is available. All – Moderna, Pfizer and Janssen – are equally proven to drastically reduce the chances of serious illness, hospitalization and death. Additionally, it is still imperative to wear a mask in public spaces and practice good hand hygiene, as well as social distancing.
“This increase is looking similar to the rise we saw after the holidays, when people discovered they had contracted the virus from a friend or loved one at a party or family gathering,” McGraw observes. “With schools out for spring break this coming week and residents travelling to other states and locales for vacation, we’re concerned this upward trend of active cases will continue.”
Public Health Services and a range of community providers are actively delivering COVID-19 vaccine doses to thousands of people every week, and as of March 25, 24% of the total population of Sullivan County has completed their full series of vaccinations (one or two shots, depending on the vaccine).
“We have not achieved ‘herd immunity,’ so the risk of widespread community transmission remains very present and very real,” McGraw warns. “We urge everyone – whether they were vaccinated yet or not – to continue wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands regularly, and staying away from close gatherings with people they don’t see daily and/or who are not yet fully vaccinated.”
Vaccines are available at pharmacies, hospitals, mass vaccination sites operated by New York State, local health departments, and other providers statewide – please contact your provider of choice to schedule your vaccine appointment. More info is available at www.sullivanny.us/departments/publichealth/covidvaccines.
Eligible New Yorkers can receive a vaccination through a network of State-run sites distributing vaccine statewide – to determine eligibility and schedule appointments at New York State-run vaccination sites only, use the “Am I Eligible?” app. Eligible New Yorkers can also make an appointment at a New York State-operated vaccine site at www.ny.gov/vaccine or through the New York State COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).