Rethink your holiday plans, say Lewis County officials battling rising COVID numbers

WWNY Rethink your holiday plans, say Lewis County officials battling rising COVID numbers

LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - Lewis County officials are asking residents to, for the sake of everyone, rethink their holiday plans.

County Manager Ryan Piche has been saying all along that science and data show each spike or cluster of coronavirus originated from a social gathering, like the baptism in Croghan, Halloween parties or Thanksgiving.

He says he doesn’t want Christmas to be next.

“Science and numbers tell us that if things do not change, if people do not adjust plans for Christmas, we’re going to have a serious problem in Lewis County,” said Piche.

The numbers don’t lie. County officials met Thursday in another attempt to sway the public from planning social gatherings.

They point out each COVID-19 surge in the county has developed from social activities.

“It seems safe and it seems like it’s not a big deal, but that’s where the transmission is coming from,” said Piche.

As cases rise, so do hospitalizations. Right now, Lewis County Health System has staff for 25 hospital beds.

“And as we sit here today, we have 22 individuals occupying our beds, which means we only have three beds available,” said Gerald Cayer, LCHS CEO.

Cayer says if push came to shove, they could staff 32 beds, but he doesn’t want things to get to that point.

He says If beds fill up with COVID-19 patients, the hospital will have to turn away other people in need.

“Folks that want to have their next child at LCGH, if there’s no beds, they’ve gotta go somewhere else. Folks that have trauma, if there’s no beds, they’ve gotta go somewhere else,” said Cayer.

County officials say if you’ve been waiting for a sign to not make holiday plans this year, this is it.

“Please, as you’re making Christmas plans, recognize that this year is different and recognize that the path we’re headed on in Lewis County is not a good one,” said Piche.

There was also some good news Thursday. Cayer says the hospital was able to pre-order 200 Moderna vaccines for healthcare workers. Those vaccines, he says, should arrive in 2 weeks.

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