Genesee, Orleans Healthcare, Government Officials Push to ‘Increase’ Late Vaccination Numbers



With the percentage of residents of Genesee and Orleans counties who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine significantly lower than the number in New York state, local health and government officials are stepping up efforts to reach those who for one reason or another are “vaccine hesitant”.

Speaking at a press conference via Zoom this morning, Genesee / Orléans Director of Public Health Paul Pettit reiterated what he had said over the past year: “Vaccines are the better protection against the coronavirus … and against serious illness and death. “

Statistics provided by Pettit reveal that 61.8% of residents of Genesee County and 59.3% of residents of Orleans County, when considering the total population, have received at least one dose of Moderna, Pfizer vaccines. or Johnson & Johnson. (The first two are given as two injections; J&J is given as a single injection).

This pales in comparison to the state as a whole, with the percentage of the total population that has received at least one blow at 79.4 and the percentage of people 18 and over at 91.8.

When looking at the completed series, the number for Genesee County drops to 55.9 percent and Orleans is down to 52 percent. In the 5-11 age group, Genesee is at 10.6 percent and Orleans at 9.5 percent.

For the Finger Lakes region, which has eight counties, the percentage of a dose is 70.7 percent and the percentage of completed streak is 63.1 percent, Pettit reported.

“This is why we are again trying to increase our vaccination rates as high as possible,” he said. “COVID vaccines dramatically reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and death.”

Pettit placed particular emphasis on the vaccine boosters that have recently become available.

“We just need to go do this booster now and make sure we’re protecting ourselves as best we can,” he said, adding that Genesee and Orleans health departments continue to offer vaccination clinics. weekly against COVID-19 (Wednesdays in Genesee County and Thursdays in Orleans County).

Dan Ireland, President of United Memorial Medical Center, joined Pettit on the appeal; Matt Landers, Genesee County Director; Marianne Clattenburg, Genesee County Legislator, and Lynne Johnson, Speaker of the Orleans County Legislature.

Recognizing the need to improve vaccination figures for Genesee County, Landers – as originally stated on The Batavian – mentioned pressure from the Finger Lakes region for a “targeted rural campaign” focused on hard-to-reach populations such as Native Americans, Amish and Mennonites, hard-to-reach zip codes and vaccinated zip codes.

“We are trying to find more creative ways to attack and pursue targeted media advertising towards them,” he said, adding that the plan is to use direct advertising, postcards and other mailings. “Their targets are not necessarily trying to change the minds of people who are absolutely set, but it is really to educate, to tackle vaccine hesitancy, and to attack some of the populations most. potentially difficult to reach… “

On the hospital side, Ireland said UMMC and Rochester Regional Health’s “number one priority” is to maintain full access to health care in the community, noting that UMMC is currently open to everyone. types of elective surgeries.

He also stressed the importance of getting vaccinated, wearing masks where appropriate and getting tested, especially before social or family gatherings.

He said his family did just that before Thanksgiving and luckily no one tested positive.

“So it’s really a small step, but it makes a big difference,” he said. “And that will help us on the hospital side. Because certainly as we continue to have a good number of unvaccinated people in the community. It makes a difference when they turn positive because we see a higher percentage of unvaccinated patients in our hospital compared to COVID vaccinated patients. “

Statistically, Ireland said there are more than 200 patients who have tested positive for COVID in RRH hospitals, 11% of them at UMMC. Sixty-two percent of the intensive care unit are COVID positive, with 80 percent of those unvaccinated.

“In non-statistical terms, the unvaccinated are really showing signs of higher acuity in hospital,” he said, noting that 100% of patients on ventilators are not vaccinated.

Ireland said the UMMC continues to work in partnership with the RRH system and with other hospitals in the region to “work on any load balancing options we can provide; to ensure that all patients in our region receive care, no matter where you seek it.

He added that 95 percent of RRH’s outpatient clinics are open, although he said wait times may be longer than normal.

Consider specific areas of concern:

COMMUNITY SPREAD

Pettit said the number of positive cases has remained stable recently but remains too high, with 250 active cases in Genesee County and 334 active cases in Orleans County. Forty-eight of them are hospitalized (35 in Genesee and 13 in Orléans).

In the past seven days, the positivity rate in Genesee and Orleans is 12.5% ​​and 12.2%, respectively.

As for the breakthrough cases (tests positive of those who are fully vaccinated), Pettit said the percentages were 30% in Genesee and 29% in Orleans – with those types of cases having increased in the past two months.

He urged those who were vaccinated with Moderna or Pfizer at least six months ago and those who received the J&J vaccine at least two months ago to get vaccinated.

Pettit pointed out that most of the spread comes from social gatherings “where there is prolonged contact indoors” and from those who think they only have a cold (due to the season of colds and flu).

“So again, one of our posts we said from day one is if you’re symptomatic, stay home, don’t go to work, don’t go to school, stay home. home while you have the symptoms figure it out test and check, “he said.” Regardless of COVID, we don’t want to spread germs around. “

COVID-19 TEST

Pettit said limited testing is offered at both health departments by appointment, and local pharmacies and emergency care centers also offer testing.

He said home test kits will become more popular over time and GO Health is moving closer to accepting home test results.

“At the end of the day, they’re very precise, if done correctly. And a positive is a positive on these test kits. So, again, we encourage you to get hold of them and use them if available, ”he said.

Homebound people are urged to call their health services (Genesee: 585-344-2550, ext. 5555; Orléans, 585-589-3278) for a list for a home visit.

OMICRON VARIANT

Pettit said the Omicron variant has not been identified in Genesee or Orleans, but “that doesn’t mean it’s not here, it just means it hasn’t (yet) been detected” .

He said the new variant likely spreads more easily than the original COVID virus, very similar to how Delta (variant) spreads much more easily.

“The early indication is that the severity doesn’t seem to be too bad again, but it’s early and they keep following that,” he proposed.

CONTACT TRACING

For people in isolation or in quarantine, responding to Department of Health or New York state contract tracers, Pettit said.

“I cannot repeat it enough,” he said. “We need people to answer the phone; we need people to engage with us during the process. Because if we don’t, if we are not able to investigate, and we are not able to talk to you, to release you, we cannot send the letter (of release).

ORIENTATION IN SCHOOLS

Pettit said the collective goal is to keep students in school, and “this year I think we’ve done a pretty good job.”

In accordance with the state’s mandate, masking continues to be mandatory inside schools.

He said his department was discussing new strategies with superintendents, particularly Testing to Stay and testing out of quarantine.

“There is a checklist and the schools have them and we are discussing how we can implement it, but at the end of the day they need to have a written plan on how they would implement these different approaches within of their school system, ”he said. “And one of the biggest hurdles is that it has to be done in a fair way. We can’t have that just for some children and not for others… ”


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