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Local COVID-19 Transmission 'in the Red'

Map of COVID-19 Transmission Rates, courtesy of the CDC

Liberty, NY – While the efforts of Sullivan County Public Health Services and other local providers continue to build a vaccinated population, COVID-19 – and its extremely contagious Delta variant – continues to spread across the County, State and nation.

“We’re getting close to having delivered vaccine doses to 39,000 people out of a year-round population of 75,498, but our cases continue to climb, with 132 people known to be infected with coronavirus as of August 10. In the past week alone, there was an 80.5% increase in positive cases (from 72 to 130), and a 108% increase in the number of people in quarantine, from 110 to 229. That’s put us in the Federal Centers for Disease Control’s ‘red’ zone – an area of high COVID transmission,” Public Health Director Nancy McGraw observed. “For everyone’s health and safety, it’s imperative that we continue to encourage family and friends to get vaccinated. Children less than 12 years of age are still vulnerable to this virus and are unable to get vaccinated at this time, as are others with various medical conditions.”

However, the good news is that only about 1% of fully vaccinated people are dealing with a “breakthrough” COVID-19 infection in Sullivan County, according to McGraw. (Being fully vaccinated means that it has been at least two weeks since the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks past the single-dose J&J vaccine.)

“This shows that the vaccines are doing their job, and if you’re concerned about catching coronavirus, think how much more vulnerable and exposed you’ll be WITHOUT vaccinating,” she remarked. “This is about doing what’s right for your health and that of the people around you. The numbers prove conclusively that you’re far safer being vaccinated, and if you do still contract COVID, your chances of getting seriously ill or even dying are greatly reduced.”

Public Health Services continues to offer free Pfizer doses (ages 12 and older) every Wednesday from 2-6 p.m. at its offices at 50 Community Lane in Liberty. Walk-in or register at www.sullivanny.us/Departments/Publichealth/COVIDvaccines/clinics. Local pharmacies and healthcare providers are also offering free shots, and in homebound cases, Public Health can make personal visits. (Call 845-292-5910 to schedule, if homebound.)

Other vaccination locations with current stock can be found at www.vaccines.gov, by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 1-800-232-0233. If you have questions about COVID-19, call the New York State COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

McGraw also strongly encourages everyone – vaccinated or unvaccinated – to wear masks indoors and outdoors where you cannot be at least six feet away from another person, or you are in a large group for greater than 15 minutes.

“We still have a chance to beat this latest outbreak without shutting everything down again. But it’s going to take all of us putting up a strong defense,” she noted. “COVID-19 will seek out the most vulnerable among us – the unvaccinated and the unmasked. Let’s not let that happen!”