Otsego County’s announcement of a spike in positive coronavirus tests at the beginning of last week reflected a pre-holiday weekend backlog of cases and not a sharp rise in the area.
Otsego County Health Director Heidi Bond told the county’s Administration Committee the news Thursday, Jan. 21.
The meeting was held via Zoom, because of the pandemic, and can be viewed on Facebook.
Bond said the virus is still thought to be everywhere in the county, and a new, more contagious strain is spreading.
However, the 80 positive cases reported Tuesday, Jan. 19, came from a backlog of slow to be reported cases since Thursday or Friday, and were not a spike.
“So, that was the good part of it,” Bond said.
Bond said the delay in vaccinations has been systemic and the county can’t control when it gets doses or how many doses it gets. New directives have told county officials not to vaccinate seniors over age 65 or 1C designees and to send them to get drug store vaccinations instead. However, that was a change, and the county had vaccinated a few qualified seniors. New directives will focus county efforts on limited essential workers.
“Going forward we will work with directly with the schools, the colleges, the police, fire, those groups that are eligible to get them able to access our clinic,” Bond said.
All directives are crippled by a lack of volume, she said. The county got only 100 doses in the last batch and has no idea when more doses will arrive.
Anyone who has been vaccinated can still return to where they got their first dose to get their second dose, she said.
“I guess my message, still, is we’re beginning this process of vaccinating, but it is going to be a long process, unless our vaccine allotments pick up greatly,” she said. “So people need to continue what we’ve been doing the past year and hopefully in time we can get everyone vaccinated and get things back to normal. But for now, with the amount of vaccines that we have, its just a small amount for a lot of people who need it.”
Bond said there are 13 public vaccination sites in the state, so far, with the closest being in Binghamton or at SUNY Poly in Utica. She said seven new sites will open soon and she hopes one is closer for Otsego County residents.
Bond said the county has given out 600 doses of the vaccine, but cannot track how many county residents have been vaccinated. She also said she does not have a number for Bassett Healthcare’s vaccinations. She said her office has requested a county-by-county breakdown, but hasn’t received one yet.
County officials praised Bond and her office and thanked them for their efforts during the pandemic. Bond said they are weary, but appreciated the support and praise.
As of Monday, Jan. 26, the Otsego County Department of Health 238 active cases, with 16 people hospitalized.
There have been 2,617 confirmed cases and 27 deaths since the pandemic began.
Otsego County officials also announced Monday that an Oneonta bar may have been a source of COVID exposure.
According to a media release, anyone who was at the Red Jug Pug at 195 S. Main St. in Oneonta between 6 p.m. and closing on Thursday, Jan. 21, should monitor themselves for symptoms. Anyone who develops symptoms should get tested and isolate. Those with questions or concerns should call 607-547-4231.
Greg Klein, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7218.