GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The numbers speak for themselves. The COVID-19 pandemic has not gone away, and in many places, the 2021 holiday season is shaping up to have the highest infection rates since the beginning.
The city of Glens Falls and surrounding parts of Warren and Washington Counties are among those places. Some of the health care leaders there worry that not enough people realize that fact, as Thanksgiving and Christmas get closer.
Glens Falls Hospital, Hudson Headwaters Health Network (HHHN) and Irongate Family Practice sent out a warning to that effect on Tuesday. As it stands, Glens Falls Hospital is already at capacity limits, and walk-in urgent care facilities are getting some of their highest traffic; and that’s before families start traveling for the turkey.
“Let me be blunt,” said Dr. Howard Fritz, Chief Medical Officer at Glens Falls Hospital, in the release. “If you are not vaccinated, get the vaccine immediately. If you are eligible for the booster, get it. Your life, your loved one’s lives, and those of your friends and neighbors depend on it.”
Fritz said Glens Falls Hospital currently has over 50 patients who were admitted for COVID-19 treatment. Most of those people are not vaccinated for coronavirus.
The hospital’s current total number of admitted patients – across the whole hospital – is the highest it has reached at any point during the pandemic. Demand is incredibly high for the hospital’s emergency ward and ambulance staff, as well.
It’s a similar story at Hudson Headwaters. The organization runs health centers in Glens Falls, Queensbury and out into the Adirondacks and Washington County. Currently, Chief Medical Officer Dr. William Borgos said, HHHN is seeing around 80 new coronavirus patients daily.
“Again, the vast majority are unvaccinated and those who are unvaccinated are much sicker than the cases we see in fully vaccinated patients,” Borgos said. “As a community, we need to do everything we can to cut off transmission of the virus. We urge everyone to get vaccinated, get a booster dose if you are already vaccinated, and to wear masks in any indoor public setting.”
As of Tuesday, Washington County remained one of the highest-ranked counties in New York in terms of positive coronavirus case percentage, factoring in at second place at 13.3%. Last week, it was ranked at #1. for multiple days. The county was watching 376 active cases. Warren County was watching 543 active coronavirus cases as of Monday.
“You are 11 times – 11 times – more likely to die from COVID 19 as an adult if you are not vaccinated, said Dr. Robert Reeves of Irongate Family Practice. “I simply can’t put it any other way; you owe it to yourself and those you love to get vaccinated.”
Fritz said the statement should serve as a reminder that any large gathering has the potential to vastly accelerate and amplify coronavirus spread. Masks are urged for anyone getting together with friends and family over the holidays. Those, and of course, one other thing.
“Please, friends, let’s take care of each other by getting the vaccine and getting the booster as soon as you can. With this spike happening now, we are all very worried about what is to come one or two weeks after the Thanksgiving gatherings, much less what may come in January,” he said.