Jefferson County ‘in the red’ for COVID-19 transmission, officials pleading residents to get vaccinated


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — On the first Monday of May, Jefferson County confirmed that it is now at the highest risk for COVID transmission according to the CDC. This is following an uptick in the county’s COVID-19 infection rate over the past couple weeks.

“Just a couple of weeks ago, we were really going in the right direction,” stated Jefferson County Information Officer Stephen Jennings. “We had got it down to 1.9%, and that was the last of that ever since then, it’s been ticking upward.”

The transmission risk, now in the red, is ultimately impacting the county’s herd immunity.

“We are no where near herd immunity,” confirmed Jennings. “And that’s why I think our numbers are going in the wrong direction in terms of infection rates. We have to get more people vaccinated and so we’re going to be working very aggressively to try to meet people in a different way.”

According to Jennings, during first few days of May, 93% of all COVID-19 cases reported in the county were individuals under the age of 50 years old.

This group is who the county is now targeting to get vaccinated.

“This process, which we are now beginning, is really trying to mobilize and energize people who are reluctant, have hesitancy, maybe apathy towards it, towards the process and whatever the variety of issues are,” stated Jefferson County Board of Legislator Chairman Scott Gray. “We’re trying to mobilize and energize that population.”

To allow for further flexibility, the Jefferson County Public Health Service is taking their clinics on the road. Moving away from the mass vaccination site located at Jefferson Community College, official will essential bring vaccines to “resident’s backyards,” at local schools, fire departments and more.

Chairman Gray confirmed that the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will most likely be available at all pop-up clinics, as well as doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.

Both Gray and Jennings concluded by urging all to get vaccinated as the North Country is approaching tourist season.

“I think we’re starting to hear this week has workplaces are being impacted. Sometimes all staff have not been vaccinated or some of the staff have not been vaccinated,” shared Jennings. People who keep our economy going, have an opportunity to help us and in getting vaccinated themselves and encouraged their employees to get vaccinated.”

Chairman Gray added, “We have to get the [vaccination] numbers up a little higher so we can blunt the spread because what we’re seeing is that there’s a rush to get back to that [‘normal’] lifestyle. That’s going to be important for our upcoming summer tourism season.”

All listings of pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics can be found on the Jefferson County Public Health Services website.

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