Rockland COVID-19 Update: County Executive

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ROCKLAND COUNTY, NY — As COVID-19 cases surged in Rockland and the death toll surpassed 1,000, County Executive Ed Day told residents not to panic and offered sympathy to everyone who has had to change their plans.

"We are all being affected by this Omicron-fueled increase in active cases, and I truly feel for those who have had to change their plans, cancel events, or isolate or quarantine during this holiday season," he said. "I share your sadness and frustration that we are still suffering from the effects of this pandemic 21 months after it began, and I extend my heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors to this disease."

In Rockland, the number of coronavirus cases stood at 141.6 out of every 100,000 residents, compared to 21 out of every 100,000 residents as of Nov. 27, two days after Thanksgiving. Of the 59 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the county (up from 35 Dec. 17), 23 had been vaccinated against the disease.

The death toll from COVID-19 has stood at 1,010 since Dec. 22.

"But today we are in far better shape than when this first began last March. Medical treatments for COVID-19 have improved, and we have made incredible progress in vaccinating residents," Day said.

"These vaccines have proven themselves to be largely effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death," Day said, pointing out that hospitalizations were far lower than in April 2020, when there were 287 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in local hospitals.

Here's the full statement from the County Executive:

We were informed today by staff from Governor Kathy Hochul’s Office that the at-home COVID-19 test kits that New York State is distributing will very likely not be delivered to counties until the first week of January. Rockland had previously received just over 13,000 test kits which were distributed to school districts at the direction of the Governor’s Office.

We are in the process of developing a distribution plan for this new batch of test kits that will be used to allocate any we receive next week and any we receive in following weeks from the State. We are committed to getting these at-home test kits into the hands of the residents who need them as soon as we can.

We are all being affected by this Omicron-fueled increase in active cases, and I truly feel for those who have had to change their plans, cancel events, or isolate or quarantine during this holiday season. I share your sadness and frustration that we are still suffering from the effects of this pandemic 21 months after it began, and I extend my heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors to this disease.

But today we are in far better shape than when this first began last March. Medical treatments for COVID-19 have improved, and we have made incredible progress in vaccinating residents. The clinical team at the Department of Health has administered 55,557 vaccine doses and has overseen the redistribution of 27,836 vaccine doses to more than 20 Rockland locations.

These vaccines have proven themselves to be largely effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death. This is made abundantly clear as we look at our increasing active case numbers, which stand at 4,875 today, and see that our corresponding hospitalizations (59 confirmed cases as of December 27, 2021) are currently 44% lower than they were in January (107 confirmed cases on January 10, 2021) at the prior peak of this disease and 79% lower than they were in April of 2020 (248 confirmed cases and 39 persons under investigation hospitalized on April 21, 2020).

Based on the current 7-day averages from Good Samaritan and Nyack Hospitals, 25.41% of hospital beds are available and 39.96% of ICU Beds are available. This leaves plenty of capacity to deal with common emergencies like car accidents and regularly scheduled procedures. New York State has also been in contact with hospitals around the state, including ours, to offer staffing support should it become necessary.

As we approach New Year’s Eve, it is critical that we all learn from and apply effective and proven strategies that minimize transmission of this disease. The Rockland County Department of Health continues to urge everyone to follow the CDC’s recommended public health prevention measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask that fully covers your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin when indoors.

  • Stay 6 feet away from others not within your household.

  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. If the weather permits and it’s not too cold, open the windows and door for more ventilation.

  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze by using your elbow or a tissue.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • Stay home if you are sick.

This effort must start in our living rooms where more than 70% of known transmissions take place according to New York State contact tracing data. Please continue to enjoy the holidays but be smart about hygienic practices and social distancing. And most importantly, stay home if you are sick.

This article originally appeared on the New City Patch

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