Darkest before the light
400,000 dead in the US from COVID. And the national rate of fatalities has been increasing.
Vaccinations have started. I am in the newly eligible group of those aged 65-plus and have an appointment for the end of February in Plattsburgh. My second dose would then be the end of March. Effective protection will be by the end of April. The other two-thirds of the state’s population that is not yet eligible for vaccination will be significantly later. At this rate, we may vaccinate enough people by Thanksgiving to achieve herd immunity. Hopefully, there will be more doses produced and released so that we can get there sooner. To see if you are currently eligible to receive the vaccine, and if so to make an appointment, go to https://tinyurl.com/VAX-Eligible or call 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829).
In the meantime, stay vigilant: Wear your masks, socially distance from others, and wash your hands frequently.
We have had 145 deaths in the North Country from COVID-19, up 27 in the past week. The good news is that in the last week, our North Country region has gone from 7.82% positive to 7.35% positive for a seven-day average. This is still higher than the overall state level of 6.42% positive. Our health is in our hands. We choose whether to follow the recommended protocols or to ignore them.
The spread is coming from small group gatherings, through family and friends, parties, sports leagues and workplaces. Infected people without symptoms are major factors.
Get tested. For an appointment, call Adirondack Health at 518-897-2462.
Each of us can help keep ourselves and others safe: Diligently wear masks, and always practice proper social distancing. The North Country region has 118 people hospitalized and 20 in intensive care units due to COVID-19. We only have 36% of our ICU beds available.
One of every 18 people tested this past week in Franklin and Essex counties was positive. One out of every 14 people tested in the region was positive. Whether walking downtown or shopping at the grocery store, you will likely encounter someone who is positive but does not yet know it. Assume that anyone you interact with is potentially contagious, and always wear your mask when outside your home. Distance yourself from others, even when outside and wearing a mask. Avoid gatherings of people, even small social get-togethers.
Rich Shapiro is a Saranac Lake village trustee.