PLATTSBURGH — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently designated Clinton County as an area of high COVID transmission, so the local health department is urging residents to resume universal masking in indoor public settings.
“Throughout this pandemic, (Clinton County Health Department) has always aligned our guidance with that of New York State and the CDC,” County Director of Public Health John Kanoza said in a statement.
“With a HIGH level of transmission in our county, we strongly recommend that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, follow the CDC guidance and return to mask wearing in indoor public places. We recommend our residents mask up in crowded outdoor settings as well.”
According to a press release, the county saw more than 200 new COVID cases last month.
Kanoza said 45% of those were breakthrough cases, which occur when fully vaccinated people test positive.
“With our breakthrough cases, we have proof the vaccine is working," he added. "Only 5% of those breakthrough cases in August required hospitalization and there were no deaths among the breakthrough cases.”
CCHD is additionally recommending that residents avoid large gatherings, which Kanoza said connect a large number of current cases.
“For example, there were more than 20 cases among attendees of a wedding, and another cluster of almost 10 cases from a large extended family gathering.”
The health department advises residents who attend large gatherings to monitor themselves for symptoms and mask up for 14 days after the event to protect those around them.
CCHD said they should seek testing, regardless of symptoms or vaccination status, if they hear of any rumored or confirmed positive cases among other attendees.
“We are asking our residents to be courteous and use common sense,” Kanoza said.
"If you are engaging in these risky behaviors, take precautions so you are not bringing the virus back to your family, friends and coworkers.”
In addition to masking and avoiding gatherings, residents can also protect themselves by washing their hands frequently, staying home and seeking medical care when sick, and getting vaccinated.
Information on how to get vaccinated through local health departments, pharmacies and other agencies is listed on page A8.