COVID rates fall to zero — for one day

The county saw no COVID-19 positive cases Wednesday, but two new cases were added to the county’s tally Thursday. Health officials hope vaccinations will keep the trend of infection rates low. Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

CATSKILL — There were no new positive COVID-19 cases reported in Greene County on Wednesday, according to Greene County Public Health.

Two cases were reported Thursday as of noon and three residents remain hospitalized, Deputy Director of Public Health Laura Churchill confirmed Thursday.

The lower case numbers are similar to infection rates in the county this time last year, she said.

“Last summer we did see a decrease in cases, but we are hopeful that with more residents vaccinated, this trend will continue onward,” Churchill said.

Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, said seeing a day with no new virus cases was good news.

“We had some days last summer when we didn’t have any positives, but it’s a good trend to see,” Linger said. “We are certainly pleased to see that — it was the goal all along with the vaccines and the shutdowns and the quarantines.”

As of Thursday, 20,314 Greene County residents completed the vaccine series and 23,687 have had at least one vaccine dose, of a total population of 47,491, according to the New York state COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are two-dose regimens and the Johnson & Johnson inoculation requires one shot.

The county is just shy of reaching the halfway mark in terms of vaccination rates with 49.9% of people completing the vaccination series; 57.6% of those ages 18 and over have received at least one dose.

Churchill urged residents who have not been vaccinated to use caution.

“If people are not vaccinated and they develop symptoms, they should consider getting tested,” Churchill said. “The vaccine is safe and effective and available down to age 12, so please consider getting one so we can all enjoy the return to normal.”

With the economy opening up and events being scheduled for the summer months after more than a year of shutdowns, time will tell whether infection rates will remain low, Linger said.

“Now we have events taking place this year that did not take place last year, so it’s a waiting game to see if there is any spread or new positives coming out of that,” Linger said. “We hope the new trend sticks, even with things opening up.”

Linger doubts the number of cases will rise to previous levels at least over the next few months, he said. But as schools reopen in the fall and colder weather pushes people back inside, it remains to be seen how infection rates will be impacted, Linger said.

“I don’t foresee any big increases before schools open up,” he said. “Our numbers were in this range last summer — we were in the 1% and lower range until about October after school started and Halloween was coming and the weather was getting cooler. This year we have the vaccination in place so we hope that will mitigate some of that.”

Greene County vaccination rates lag behind statewide rates, according to the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker.

Statewide, 10.7 million New Yorkers, or 53.8% of the total population and 65.5% of those ages 18 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. More than 9 million New Yorkers, or 46.1% of the population and 57.3% of those ages 18 and up, have completed the vaccine series.

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