Local health officials are sounding the alarm over increasing COVID cases – even before the holiday season begins – urging people to get vaccinated and take precautions.
Glens Falls Hospital currently has 51 in-house COVID-related patients and eight are in the intensive care unit. The vast majority of people hospitalized are not vaccinated.
“Let me be frank. If you are not vaccinated, get vaccinated immediately. If you’re eligible for the booster, get it. Your life, the lives of your loved ones, and the lives of your friends and neighbors depend on it, ”said Dr. Howard Fritz, Chief Medical Officer at Glens Falls Hospital, in a press release.
“As Warren County Public Health has appropriately warned, you should assume that any large gathering you attend will expose you to COVID-19, so always wear your mask. Remember that masks reduce your risk of getting sick, but also your likelihood of making someone else sick if you are infected but are not yet aware of the symptoms, ”Fritz added.
The emergency department sees more ambulances and walk-in cases than at any time during the pandemic, according to the hospital. Saratoga Hospital, the Albany Medical Center and the Columbia Memorial are experiencing the same surge.
“If we have such an increase now before the start of the holiday season, we are very concerned about what the next few weeks might show,” said Ray Agnew, spokesperson for Glens Falls hospital.
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Agnew said he believed people were letting their guard down – meeting in large groups and not wearing masks.
Glens Falls Hospital has postponed some elective surgeries that require an overnight stay due to the increase in the total number of patients, according to Agnew. In addition, some people took time off before Thanksgiving.
The hospital hasn’t canceled all elective surgeries and closed everything like it did last year, Agnew said.
Asked about the vaccine’s mandate, he said there were still employees on administrative leave without pay because they had not received the vaccine. The hospital manages. To fill the staffing gap, the hospital has called in more outside help and some people are taking extra shifts.
The Hudson Headwaters Health Network receives an average of 80 new COVID patients per day and the vast majority are not vaccinated.
Agnew said of the 90 patients Hudson Headwaters saw on Monday, 16 have been vaccinated. Even though there are groundbreaking cases, the vaccine is a very effective tool in saving lives, officials say.
Those who haven’t received the vaccine are much sicker than people who are fully vaccinated, according to Dr. William Borgos, chief medical officer of the Hudson Headwaters Health Network.
“As a community, we must do all we can to stop the transmission of the virus. We urge everyone to get vaccinated, to receive a booster dose if you are already vaccinated and to wear masks in any indoor public place, ”he said in a press release.
Dr Robert Reeves, of Irongate Family Practice, said people are 11 times more likely to die from COVID in adulthood if they are not vaccinated.
“I just can’t say it any other way; you owe it to yourself and those you love to get vaccinated, ”he said.
Michael Goot covers politics, crime and the courts, Warren County, education and business. Contact him at 518-742-3320 or [email protected]