Monroe County announced 1,995 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the surge of illnesses related to the omicron variant continues to grow.
The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,859 cases per day, a mark higher than at any previous time during the pandemic. Before the recent Christmas holiday, the previous high for a seven-day case average was 653 per day, a mark set on Dec. 20, 2020, according to a review of state data.
The county has now reported more than 1,000 new cases on eight consecutive days. The previous record for positive cases reported in a single day in Monroe County was 838, reported on Dec. 31, 2020, according to state data.
The seven-day rolling average positivity rate for Monroe County, based on combined NAAT/PCR and Antigen test results (NYS), is 18.5%. This is the highest total reported since the beginning of the pandemic.
In the Finger Lakes region, 531 individuals were hospitalized for COVID-19 (up by 12 since since the previous day). Of those patients, 121 are in ICUs, a one-day increase of 12 patients.
On Monday, officials with the Monroe County Department of Public Health reported 38 new deaths, which occurred between Dec. 15 and Dec. 29. The total number of deaths in Monroe County due to COVID-19 is 1,606 to date.
RIT cancels games, implements vaccination policy for athletic events
The Rochester Institute of Technology announced that spectators coming to indoor athletic events are required to present proof of vaccination as of Monday, Jan. 3.
All attendees 12 years of age and older (including RIT faculty, staff, students, and their families) must provide proof of vaccination and a matching photo ID.
Spectators must also wear a face-covering at all times during indoor athletic events. Face coverings are required outdoors for unvaccinated persons when physical distancing cannot be maintained and are recommended for vaccinated persons in crowded settings.
The new policies are being put in place as COVID-19 protocols have prompted some games to be canceled.
The RIT men's basketball game scheduled for Monday, Jan. 3, at Alfred State was canceled.
A pair of RIT men's hockey games scheduled for the weekend were also postponed due to their opponents' COVID-19 outbreak. Sacred Heart University announced they had experienced a number of positive cases left them without enough players to field a team. One of those contests, which was scheduled to take place at SHU's home rink in Connecticut, has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 11, on the RIT campus.
FDA approves booster for 12- to 15-year-olds
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday expanded the Emergency Use Authorization of a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to include youths 12 to 15.
The booster dose is the same strength as the dose approved in the primary series. A booster dose was previously authorized by the FDA for emergency use for those 16 years of age and older.
"Today’s decision by the FDA to further expand the Emergency Use Authorization of a booster dose of our vaccine is critical to help us ultimately defeat this pandemic,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said. “Broad use of boosters is essential to preserving a high level of protection against this disease and reducing the rate of hospitalizations.”
The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention still must sign off on the authorization. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, is expected to make the final decision this week.
Health care systems are reporting record hospitalizations among children amid a coronavirus surge driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant. During the week of Dec. 22 to Dec. 28, an average of 378 children age 17 and under were admitted per day to hospitals with the coronavirus, a 66% increase from the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last Thursday.
The previous high over the course of the pandemic was in early September, when child hospitalizations averaged 342 per day, the CDC said.
The FDA also authorized a third dose at least 28 days following the second dose for kids ages 5-11 who have who have certain kinds of immunocompromise. And the agency reduced the time for administration of a Pfizer booster dose from at least six months to at least five months following completion of the primary series for everyone 12 years of age and older. The Moderna booster time frame remains six months.
“With the current wave of the omicron variant, it’s critical that we continue to take effective, life-saving preventative measures such as primary vaccination and boosters, mask wearing and social distancing to in order to effectively fight COVID-19," said Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock.
COVID cases in New York surge
New coronavirus cases leaped in New York in the week ending Sunday, rising 64.2% as 367,687 cases were reported. The previous week had 223,956 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.
New York ranked second among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week coronavirus cases in the United States increased 104% from the week before, with 2,833,203 cases reported. With 5.84% of the country's population, New York had 12.98% of the country's cases in the last week. Across the country, 49 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.
Delayed testing results due to holidays
Christmas and New Year's significantly disrupted who got tested, how many people got tested, what labs operated and what government agencies reported on time. Some of the Christmas weekend reports were shifted into the latest week. Most states reported no cases at all the weekend of New Year's, which will bump those reports into the following week. Consequently, week-to-week comparisons will be skewed and these numbers will be unreliable even as they're accurate to what states reported.
Monroe County COVID cases
Monroe County reported 4,239 cases and 32 deaths in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 2,978 cases and 22 deaths. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 113,676 cases and 1,353 deaths.
Ontario County reported 503 cases and six deaths in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 416 cases and five deaths. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 14,122 cases and 145 deaths.
Wayne County reported 364 cases and eight deaths in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 314 cases and five deaths. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 12,344 cases and 127 deaths.
Livingston County reported 224 cases and one death in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 220 cases and five deaths. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 8,508 cases and 93 deaths.
Orleans County reported 149 cases and one death in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 121 cases and two deaths. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 6,471 cases and 104 deaths.
Genesee County reported 274 cases and eight deaths in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 243 cases and two deaths. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 10,177 cases and 162 deaths.
Worst COVID outbreaks in New York
Within New York, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Bronx County with 3,736 cases per 100,000 per week; Richmond County with 3,556; and Queens County with 3,094. The Centers for Disease Control says high levels of community transmission begin at 100 cases per 100,000 per week.
Adding the most new cases overall were Kings County, with 77,177 cases; Queens County, with 69,744 cases; and Bronx County, with 52,988. Weekly case counts rose in 51 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Queens, Bronx and Kings counties.
New York ranked 8th among states in share of people receiving at least one shot, with 84% of its residents at least partially vaccinated. The national rate is 73.3%, a USA TODAY analysis of CDC data shows. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are the most used in the United States, require two doses administered a few weeks apart.
In the week ending Thursday, New York reported administering another 678,441 vaccine doses, including 217,752 first doses. In the previous week, the state administered 902,641 vaccine doses, including 261,353 first doses. In all, New York reported it has administered 34,256,514 total doses.
Across New York, cases fell in 11 counties, with the best declines in New York County, with 38,255 cases from 40,700 a week earlier; in Tompkins County, with 548 cases from 676; and in Clinton County, with 381 cases from 410.
In New York, 702 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 380 people were reported dead.
A total of 3,552,059 people in New York have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 59,682 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 55,114,057 people have tested positive and 826,060 people have died.
New York's COVID-19 hospital admissions rising
USA TODAY analyzed federal hospital data as of Sunday, Jan. 2.
Likely COVID patients admitted in the state:
Last week: 9,891
The week before that: 6,278
Four weeks ago: 4,106
Likely COVID patients admitted in the nation:
Last week: 146,041
The week before that: 99,270
Four weeks ago: 86,518
Hospitals in 42 states reported more COVID-19 patients than a week earlier, while hospitals in 32 states had more COVID-19 patients in intensive-care beds. Hospitals in 48 states admitted more COVID-19 patients in the latest week than a week prior, the USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Health and Human Services data shows.
The USA TODAY Network is publishing localized versions of this story on its news sites across the country, generated with data from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control. If you have questions about the data or the story, contact Mike Stucka at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Rochester Democrat and Chronicle: Monroe County NY COVID cases shattering single-day records. The latest