State, county urge holiday caution as Covid concerns linger

New Covid cases in New York State — and locally — are the most numerous they have been in the past six months. They’re expected to increase now the holiday season is upon us.

How much? The experts admit they are just guessing. The politicians say that the answer is up to us.

Ulster County residents have less to be thankful for than they would like this Thanksgiving week. But there was some good pandemic-related news, at least relatively speaking.

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Look at the Covid positivity rate among those tested. The state average is 3.82. The seven-day average of positive cases is 9.7 percent in western New York and 8.8 percent in the Finger Lakes. In the mid-Hudson region, according to state data, it’s only 2.94, second best among the ten regions, though badly trailing New York City’s 1.63.

Ulster County’s Covid dashboard doesn’t align with the state’s but reaches the same conclusion. Beware of a spike in cases. The positivity rate in both the state and the county has recently been rising. Last Sunday, November 21, Ulster County reports that 41 out of 827 people tested positive, a five percent rate. The county says its overall positivity rate since the pandemic began has been 3.77 percent.


Ulster County COVID-19 Active Cases


Hospitalizations in New York were up 21 percent over the week before Thanksgiving to 3500 cases.

“The combination of people sick with Covid, as well as the population that are taking up spaces [in hospitals] … has really created a situation that is, that is not sustainable,” governor Kathy Hochul warned recently. “And here’s our infection rate. I’m not happy about this at all. Infection rates are high. Our vaccination rates should be higher.”

More restrictions could be coming. “This is the warning. The warning is going out loud and clear today,” Hochul said. “And I truly hope that the community at large will listen to this because it doesn’t have to be this way. It doesn’t have to be. We can do better.”

At the county level, Ulster County executive Pat Ryan also warned in a press release about the possibility of a new outbreak similar to the one that occurred at this time of last year, when there was a 378 percent increase in active cases in the county. “The decisions we make and the precautions we take in the next week or two really will be determinative of whether we have another big spike or whether we can keep things at a relative plateau,” said Ryan.

About 120,500 Ulster County residents have been fully vaccinated. For information, go to vaccinateulster.com.

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