While our active cases have now surpassed the previous peak of 2,964 that we saw in January of this year, our corresponding hospitalizations (46 confirmed cases as of December 24, 2021) are currently 57% lower than they were in January (107 confirmed cases on January 10, 2021) and 83% lower than they were at their prior peak in April 2020 (248 confirmed cases and 39 persons under investigation hospitalized on April 21, 2020).
It is clear that the Omicron variant is spreading incredibly quickly. We were informed by the Governor’s staff yesterday that they are estimating that Omicron makes up 95% of new active cases in downstate, New York, including Rockland and surrounding counties.
Please be prepared to see nearly a vertical graph charting the near-term positivity numbers Statewide but keep in mind that we still have relatively low hospitalization rates. Based on the current 7-day averages from Good Samaritan and Nyack Hospitals, 22.92% of hospital beds are available and 38.84% of ICU Beds are available. This leaves plenty of capacity to deal with common emergencies like car accidents and regularly scheduled procedures. New York State has also been in contact with hospitals around the state, including ours, to offer staffing support should it become necessary.
With New Year’s Eve approaching next weekend, it is critical to follow a logical and layered approach to disease prevention. The Rockland County Department of Health continues to urge everyone to follow the CDC’s recommended public health prevention measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear a mask that fully covers your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin when indoors.
- Stay 6 feet away from others not within your household.
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. If the weather permits and it’s not too cold, open the windows and door for more ventilation.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze by using your elbow or a tissue.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Stay home if you are sick.
Rockland has consistently been among the lowest in COVID positivity rates in the State and locations like New York City, where the most aggressive vaccination and mask mandates have instead generated double-digit positivity rates, just confirms the fact that we all need to learn from and apply effective and proven strategies that minimize transmission of this disease. That effort must start in our living rooms where more than 70% of known transmissions take place according to New York State contact tracing data. Please don’t panic and continue to enjoy the holidays while being smart about hygienic practices and social distancing.