January 5th, 2022
Today we reported 4,094 new cases of COVID 19. Home tests accounted for 2,270 of the cases. That is a huge number, but not unexpected. These numbers reflect the holiday season, the use and reporting from county purchased home rapid test kits and school districts’ directives to test students prior to returning from their holiday time off.
These numbers show our plan to flood the county with rapid tests is working. Despite the national shortage of tests, Monroe County is able to lead in at-home testing because of our strong federal partners, Congressman Joe Morelle and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, who procured the funds for the county to purchase and distribute more than 750,000 rapid antigen tests to our residents. Today alone, the home tests will help prevent new infections by thousands of individuals that may not have known they were positive with the virus.
The expected surge of Omicron is why the county increased testing sites, added vaccination sites, launched the Vax-Boost-Mask initiative and is currently supplying KN95 masks to essential employees and first responders.
Our focus throughout this pandemic and in this current surge is to keep people alive and to keep our hospitals and ICUs functioning without limiting other necessary medical care. While our infection numbers are spiking, our hospitalizations have remained high, but stable. The most recent data available shows 531 hospitalized in our region with COVID and 121 in ICU.
As we have already seen, this latest surge will cause some rolling closures and restrictions in healthcare services, schools and some businesses. But if we all do the right thing, Vax-Boost-Mask and test, we will get through this surge without shutting down our businesses, stores, restaurants and workplaces. Please be vigilant, have yourself and your family vaccinated and boosted, wear a quality mask in indoor public places and get tested either at home or at one of the free county testing sites that can be found on monroecounty.gov.