Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan pointed to increases in active Covid-19 cases, infection rates and hospitalizations, calling on residents to adopt the mindset and habits they had in the spring to limit the impact of a second-wave locally.
“This is a make or break moment for us as a county and a community, where we have a chance to remain proactive and blunt a much more significant second wave,” said Ryan in Facebook Live video earlier today. “But it’s clear to me that that is coming.”
Ryan said the number of active cases is now 311, the highest since May 22.
The rate of positive tests is also on the rise. Over the last 72 hours, 3177 have been tested and 56 have been positive, a 1.76 percentage. In the last 24 hours, out of 1100 tests, 23 have come back positive, over 2 percent.
Ryan said the “most concerning” stat has been the number of hospitalizations, now at 12 with one resident in the ICU on a ventilator. That’s the most since May 7.
“April and May were not good times for us in the county,” he said. “To see us approaching back to those levels – that is concerning and that is definitely and indicator we’re trending in the wrong direction.”
Worldwide, the virus is spreading more rapidly than at any previous point, with both the U.S. and Europe setting records for new cases. Parts of New York State, including Erie, Onondaga, and Monroe Counties (Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester), were recently the subject of new restrictions on gatherings, businesses and schools after seeing sharp increases in cases. Ryan said Ulster residents should look at this and make adjustments now.
In addition to social-distancing, mask-wearing, and washing hands, he said residents should refrain from sitting indoors maskless in groups for long periods of time. “No one would have done that in April or May, and that’s how we need to approach this,” he said. Ryan also suggested residents who plan on meeting up with others to celebrate Thanksgiving and other holidays indoors reconsider. “[T]raveling and getting big groups together is a high-risk point,” he said. “Do you have to do that?”
Ryan said recent news that Pfizer had developed a vaccine with 90 percent efficacy was encouraging, but that it won’t be helpful in the near-term.
“So please encourage those that you know and love to just reset mentally. I know this isn’t where anybody wants to be, but we just have to be honest with ourselves and look at the data and listen to the health experts and look around us in the state and the country, and it’s clear where this is headed, and it’s going to get worse, potentially much worse, before it gets better, and how much worse it gets is up to us.”
All together, Ulster has had 2,671 cases, with 2,262 recovered and 98 fatalities.