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COVID cases on rise

Fulton County Public Health Director Laurel Headwell gives a COVID-19 pandemic update at the Board of Supervisors' Human Services Committee meeting Tuesday at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County may be experiencing a slight “uptick” in COVID-19 cases, county officials said Tuesday.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead and county Public Health Director Laurel Headwell gave a COVID update to the Board of Supervisors’ Human Services Committee at the County Office Building.

Stead, a spokesperson for the Fulton County COVID Task Force, stated: “We are starting to see an edge uptick.”

Headwell provided the committee the latest pandemic numbers: COVID tests – 85,757 to date; positive cases — 3,731; currently active cases — 113; hospitalizations — 12; recovered — 3,524; and deaths — 94.

She said COVID testing is still available in Fulton County.

Stead said Fulton County’s “rolling average” of cases used to be at 7 percent, but it has come “way down.” He said it was at 3 percent three weeks ago, but last weekend positivity jumped to nearly 4 percent. As of Tuesday, he said the county’s average was about 3.8 percent.

In the Hudson Valley, Stead said the rolling average for COVID was edging up to about 6 to 7 percent.

“The good thing is the deaths have kind of plateaued,” he said.

Stead said hospitalized cases of COVID locally have also leveled off.

On the vaccine front, Headwell said the county Public Health Department has arranged for public vaccinations nearly every Thursday at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

“The college has been wonderful,” Headwell said.

The county health official said the PODs sessions for vaccination at the college have been “quiet and calm.” Three county public health nurses are being assisted by EMS and other volunteers.

Headwell said her department at this point has administered 2,654 first doses, and 1,416 second doses. Another 500 doses were due to be administered this week at FMCC.

She reported three nursing homes in the county have administered 100 doses thus far. Lexington Center facilities — staff and clients — have also been vaccinated.

“We’ve done a fabulous job, I think, as a department,” Headwell said.

Stead told the committee that Fulton County isn’t getting as much COVID vaccine as it was before.

“The state has been so inconsistent in how they’ve rolled out the doses,” he said. “Those kind of inconsistencies make it difficult to plan.”

Stead said the public also has to know that the state controls the amount of vaccine coming to the county, and that the Fulton County Public Health Department isn’t a “cast of thousands.”

Headwell said younger people are now eligible to be vaccinated and she urged the public to keep an eye on the New York State Health Department website. This week, she said 30 and older can get vaccinated. But April 6, people 16 and older can be vaccinated.

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