A third of Tompkins County hospitalizations were breakthrough cases

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VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — In Tompkins County, a third of the hospitalizations from August to mid October were “breakthrough cases”. Of the 65 hospitalizations, twenty-one were in patients who said they were vaccinated.

According to data recently released by the county’s health department, the majority were older residents, or people who had pre-existing medical conditions. The average age of patients experiencing breakthrough hospitalizations was 77 years old. Comparatively, the average age of patients hospitalized who have not been vaccinated was much younger, 55 years old.

Frank Kruppa, Director of Tompkins County Health Department. (Celia Clarke/WSKG)

“The data clearly shows that we have a vulnerable population in our seniors, even if they’re vaccinated,” said Public Health Director Frank Kruppa. “So the rest of us need to do everything possible to help protect them.”

Over 73 percent of Tompkins County has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Kruppa noted that the more vaccinated a population is, the more statistically likely you are to see breakthrough cases.

Kruppa said that for the most part, the Tompkins County health department has started to shift its focus towards tracking the severity of illness in patients who contract COVID.

“We know case counts are going to ebb and flow, they have throughout the pandemic, and they’re likely to continue into the future,” said Kruppa. “But what we’re trying to understand for our community is have we done enough to protect people from becoming severely ill, meaning ending up in the hospital.”

Kruppa emphasized that for most people, getting the vaccine still reduces the chance of severe infection.