Broome County sees record number of active COVID-19 cases

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BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) — Broome County is currently seeing record numbers of COVID-19 cases, according to local officials.

There were nearly 1,350 new cases over the past week. On Wednesday, the county saw over 400 new positives in one day, which County Executive Jason Garnar said was a new record. Seven residents have died in the past week.

Garnar said there are also over 2,300 active cases in the county, more than ever before.

“The next month will likely be the most difficult month that we’ve ever seen in the pandemic. With positivity rates like this, we’re averaging an 11 percent positivity rate over the past seven days, that’s extremely high,” Garnar said.

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar. (Phoebe Taylor-Vuolo/WSKG)

Broome County’s Department of Emergency Services is distributing 87,000 masks to locations throughout the county, to make sure that any resident who needs a mask can access one.

Garnar said emergency rooms and walk-in clinics are overwhelmed. He said residents looking for tests should make an appointment at the Health Department location or the state-run testing site, rather than going to hospitals or walk-ins.

New York’s Department of Health adopted recently updated Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19.

Broome County Public Health Director Mary McFadden explained the details of this new protocol during the county’s weekly COVID update.

“The shortening of isolation means that a person who is fully vaccinated, asymptomatic or has resolved mild symptoms can return back to work after five days of isolation,” said McFadden.

McFadden added that studies have shown that viral transmission is lower after five days.

The CDC has also updated guidelines for members of the general public, recommending the same five day isolation for asymptomatic and vaccinated people. But Broome County officials said they’re still waiting on the state to approve and adopt that guidance.