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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Special Report By Brian Quinn-bquinn@batavianews.com:
Gov. Hochul predicts rising COVID numbers and thanks WCCHS workers

WARSAW — This is not March 2020 or December 2020, Gov. Kathy Hochul said as she spoke to Wyoming County Community Health System (WCCHS) staff and the media Monday. Options and defenses are available against COVID-19 or even the omicron variant.

“We have all the options we need and that is vaccinations for children ... from age 5 all the way to adults, making sure they’re safe, they can return to school when they get back from their Christmas breaks. Also, making sure people get the booster shot, as well as the availability of testing,” she said. “Testing and vaccination sites throughout the state — we’re continuing to add more and more.”

Hochul said what the state wants to do is make sure people who show symptoms or get exposed, that they get tested.

“This is how we can stop the spread from getting even more out of control. If people are feeling sniffles, a little bit sick, get tested right away, she said. “We want to make sure you stay home, stay protected. Don’t spread the virus. On the other hand, we are going to end up with another situation. We’re not going to have enough people working in our various facilities or working in our various restaurants, working in our various businesses that populate our downtowns like Warsaw here.”

In response to a question, Hochul said the state has been ordering tests over the last few weeks.

She said some counties are dropping test kits off at libraries, but she wants to make sure the kits get into schools.

She said it’s important that when kids return to school after the break, they can stay there.

Wyoming County has over 6,000 people who have tested positive for COVID, currently, she said.

“That’s out of a population of about 40,000,” she said. “You do the math — that’s about 14% of the population testing positive. These are people who are testing positive in places where we can track them — people who may be now diagnosing themselves at home because they have to test at home. We’re not always getting that data,” she said. “Call into your local health department so we can have more accurate numbers.”

Hochul predicts that after Christmas, the positivity numbers will continue to go up.

“We foresee this, but it does not have to have anywhere near the same severities we went through a year and a half ago, 20 months ago,” she said. “We have the protection to avoid that situation.”

Hochul said there are a lot of cases in which a person only got one of the Moderna or Pfizer shots when there are two, plus the booster.

“Please don’t think, because of one dose, you’re safe, because you’re truly not, particularly with this new variant,” she said.

Hochul spoke about Board of Supervisors Chairwoman and Warsaw Town Supervisor Rebecca Ryan, saying she demonstrates incredible leadership in keeping the community safe.

“What you have done in partnering with the state is something we so appreciate. You have said you need more resources to continue the work you want to do,” Hochul said. “I will stand here and tell you those resources are coming. I will guarantee that you’ll get additional assistance. Those who are willing to be so supportive of what we’ve asked the people to do —our businesses, to make sure that people are either masked or vaccinated when they come in to their establishments — that’s how we’re going to protect wonderful communities like Warsaw and throughout this great county of Wyoming.”

Hochul mentioned Warsaw Mayor Joe Robinson for his efforts to keep people safe as well.

When she started her remarks, Hochul said she came to WCCHS for one reason.

“Angels on Earth — these health care workers who continue to show up, whether it’s in the Skilled Nursing Facility or on the front lines, walking through these halls, taking care of people at their most vulnerable. They have been through a long, excruciating time and, like any other human being would be, they’re exhausted. They walk in with a positive attitude every day, but they walk out feeling drained in the sense of, ‘It did not have to be this way.’”

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