BINGHAMTON, NY – Over the weekend, Broome County saw a significant spike in COVID-19 cases.
Last Friday, the county saw the most cases in a single day to date, jumping from 63 active cases to 94, a 31 case increase.
Now, the county has 151 active cases, mainly in the 30 and younger age bracket.
Broome County Health Department Director Rebecca Kaufman believes this surge is linked to more and more people gathering in social groups.
She says this could be from gatherings beginning as far back as Labor Day, or could simply be a lack of vigilance.
“I do feel like everyone’s kind of got some sort of COVID fatigue. I know this has gone on much longer than we ever thought it would. But, I also stress, you know, as soon as we let our guard down, we see our cases go up. So, we really just have to stay strong as a community, stay in smaller numbers, and do everything that we’ve been doing, up until his point, to really keep our numbers low,” says Kaufman.
Both Kaufman and County Executive Jason Garnar don’t believe it’s a coincidence the numbers increased as the final days of summer passed.
However, there is growing concern that, with the weather turning colder in the near future, a similar, or worse, increase may occur as people will be forced back inside.
“If you have 50 people out in your backyard, right, that’s one thing. If you have 50 people in your living room, that’s a whole other thing. It’s going to be a lot easier for the virus to spread. So, we’re just asking people to be smart about it. As you move inside, reduce the number of people that you’re congregating with. It’s a common sense thing. I think most people understand it. It’s just important that people follow that,” says Garnar.
Another concern is the potential of schools closing as they did in the spring.
New York State has a threshold infection number which, if crossed, would force schools to close.
The infection percentage would need to be 9% or higher over a 7-day average regionally.
Currently, the Southern Tier’s infection rate is 1%.