WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Health experts are deeming large holiday gatherings as risky in the region.
The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool by the Georgia Institute of Technology provides insight regarding the risk factor associated with gatherings of specific sizes.
This risk level is the estimated chance that at least one COVID-19 positive individual will be present at an event and also considers vaccination rates. In the North Country, gatherings are said to be risky beginning with event sizes of 50 or more.
Specifically for gatherings with groups of 15, the risk level for Jefferson County is 24% and 34% for both Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
For an event with 25 people, the current risk level in Jefferson County in 37% and 50% in both Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
This risk level jumps when an event hits 50 attendees. At these events, there is a 61% in Jefferson County that an attendee will have COVID-19. The risk level is 74% in Lewis County and even higher in St. Lawrence County where it stands at 75%.
For an event with 100 people, such as a wedding or a movie theater, the risk for someone to have COVID-19 is extremely high in all three counties. GIT stated that the level is 84% in Jefferson County and 94% in both Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
If attending an event with 500 attendees, there is an over 99% chance that someone will have COVID-19 in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. This applies to the entire Northeast region as well.
Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties also remain designated as areas with high levels of community transmission for the virus by the CDC. Jefferson and St. Lawrence are also in a State of Emergency, which were both declared earlier in December.
With the holidays in mind, local public health officials are urging residents and visitors to take COVID-19 precautions in the next few weeks. This includes remaining home if sick, receiving an annual flu shot, wearing a mask in public spaces and washing hands regularly.
COVID-19 testing is recommended after traveling and before seeing family. Testing is being done across St. Lawrence County at urgent care offices, pharmacies and at various testing sites. All travelers, domestic and international should continue to follow all CDC travel requirements.
All eligible individuals are also urged to get all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently in New York, those five years and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and those who are 18 years and older who are two months past the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, six months past the Moderna series, or those 16 and older who are six months past the Pfizer vaccine can receive a booster shot.
A full list of vaccine clinics can be found on the New York State website.