Health Officials Brace For Post-Holiday COVID Cases

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Regional health officials will be watching to see if the 2021 holiday season brings the very same increase in COVID-19 cases as it did last year.

In the weeks after the holidays, case counts increased for both Halloween and Thanksgiving.

The novel omicron variety, the reinstatement of mask mandates, higher hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19, and some of the greatest numbers of cases northern New York has seen since the pandemic began are all part of the current pandemic landscape.

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Andrea Whitmarsh, a programme coordinator for the Essex County Health Department, was concerned about the spread of COVID-19 before the Christmas vacation.

Omicron

The northeastern United States has the highest omicron percentage in the country. Despite the fact that Essex County health officials are unable to determine which variations residents are contracting, Whitmarsh believes there are certainly cases of omicron in the county.

Omicron has surpassed the other COVID-19 variations, such as delta, as the most prevalent. This is partly due to the fact that it is more transmissible – it doubles every two days, according to Whitmarsh.

Because the severity of omicron is unknown, public health officials are waiting to see if the increased spread would put a strain on the local health-care system, according to Whitmarsh.

Related Topic: Stocking Stuffers: New Yorkers Rush to Get COVID Test Kits Before Christmas

What is the point of wearing a mask?

Even if they are vaccinated, New Yorkers have been compelled to wear face masks at social gatherings and are required to mask up at workplaces as case numbers grow. Because more than half of the local population has been vaccinated, it has produced some uncertainty.

Vaccination provides protection, but masks provide an additional layer of protection for those who may or may not be vaccinated, according to Whitmarsh. The immunizations with boosters, according to Whitmarsh, do a decent job of keeping these folks out of hospitals and morgues, but additional layers of protection are better.

Vaccinated people can also be affected by the delta and omicron versions, she noted.

As of Thursday, 71 percent of Essex County residents and 58 percent of Franklin County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Inside, where the illness is very contagious, wearing a mask is highly suggested. Whitmarsh claims that there is a “unprecedented spread” among Essex County homes.

Outdoors, According to Whitmarsh, masks are rarely necessary because the open air prevents COVID-19 particles from spreading to others. However, she stressed that masks are still a good idea in big populations with diverse vaccination statuses.

There is a lack of antiviral pills and tests.

The US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Paxlovid, a Pfizer-produced at-home antiviral tablet, to fight COVID-19 infection on Wednesday. This is positive, according to Whitmarsh, but it isn’t a panacea for the pandemic.

Supplies will be limited at first, and Whitmarsh worries there will be enough to keep up with the projected influx of new COVID-19 cases after the holidays.

To avoid significant disease, the antiviral should be taken as soon as possible during the infection.

In some regions, there are shortages of at-home test kits, and the significant demand for testing during the recent COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in extended wait times.

He claims that delaying people’s entry into quarantine lengthens the time they can spread the infection.

Vaccines

People getting their booster injections, according to Gillilland, are “flying through the roof” with demand for immunizations. According to Whitmarsh, the number of first-dose vaccinations declined during the summer since everyone who wanted the vaccine had already gotten it.

They resumed in the fall, she said, after the FDA granted full permission to the major vaccine brands and later expanded approval to include lower age groups, down to 5 years old.

Why should you be vaccinated?

COVID-19 may make anyone sick, according to Tupper Lake town Mayor and Franklin County Legislator Paul Maroun, but he’s especially concerned about the elderly and those with prior diseases and comorbidities.

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