Tri-county area sees higher COVID positivity percentages

Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 5:24 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties all report high COVID-19 positivity percentages. In fact, two counties have 7-day averages that are more than double the state’s.

As of Monday, St. Lawrence County’s average was 9.4 percent. Jefferson County’s is 8.8 percent. It’s 6.6 percent in Lewis County.

The state’s is significantly lower at 3.4 percent.

Local pubic health officials point to a couple of reasons for our numbers.

“I think a lot of it is due to the Delta variant being more easily able to transmit,” said Jolene Munger, interim director, St. Lawrence County Public Health

“The weather is changing and people are moving indoors. And when they’re congregating indoors, your risk for transmitting disease is much higher,” said Stephen Jennings, Jefferson County Public Health planner.

Vaccination rates also appear to be lagging in some areas. According to the CDC, only 65 percent of adults in St. Lawrence County are fully vaccinated and that number drops to 59 percent in Lewis County.

“The more people that can get vaccinated, the more people that are protected throughout the community,” said Anna Platz, deputy director, Lewis County Public Health.

Jefferson County’s shot rate is right on par with the state’s at 79 percent but Jennings says it’s time for many to roll up their sleeves again.

“We really need them to get their booster shots,” he said.

Along with getting vaccinated, health experts recommend people follow other health and safety measures, like masking up, to help drive COVID positivity rates down.

“That’s in the grocery store, at church, anywhere where you’re indoors in public,” said Jennings.

“Try to stay 6-feet away from people. Make sure you’re washing your hands,” said Munger.

Every measure health officials here have recommended were echoed by the governor this week too, including getting kids vaccinated. It’s a statewide call for the community to do what it can to knock COVID out.

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