BINGHAMTON, NY – It’s our second holiday season in the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID vaccines became widely available in 2021, so many people were hoping we were going to have a COVID-free Christmas and a mask-less new year.

Turns out, our COVID-19 numbers for Broome County are much higher than they were last year at this time.

Last December 15, Broome County was facing 669 active cases.

Now, we have 1,352.

Hospitalizations last December 15 were at 54, and now we have 82 in the hospital.

293 people have died of the virus between December 15 2020 and 2021.

So what now?

The omicron and delta variants weren’t around last year, and studies have shown they are more contagious than what we were dealing with a year ago.

Our best chance to combat the growing cases is to get vaccinated or boosted, and wear your mask if you’re inside, especially if you are visiting with unvaccinated individuals.