BROOME COUNTY – As COVID-19 cases in Broome County seem to be on the rise, the Health Department is doesn’t want anyone to panic.

“It’s important for people not to panic, but to really take heed of what they already know they can do to prevent COVID from happening,” says Broome County Health Department Director Mary McFadden.

Broome’s COVID cases have been steadily increasing all week, with 136 new cases reported today, bringing the total number of cases to 392. However, McFadden says that a few days is not enough time to get the full grasp on the situation.

“We saw the trend trickle up a little bit at a time, we’re seeing a big number today, but it’s really important to look at it over a period of time to monitor the trends,” says McFadden.

She says that 60% of New York’s cases are currently being caused by the omicron variant BA .2, which has proven to be more contagious but less serious than omicron, which makes keeping an eye on the hospitals important.

“We don’t want to overwhelm the hospitals,” says McFadden.

As for where the cases are coming from, unlike the past, there’s no clear picture due to all the home tests.

Another reason Broome County could be struggling is the lack of vaccinations.

“We need more immunity in our community. We are only at 65% when it comes to our vaccination rates. And the younger ages, from 5 to 25, are severely under vaccinated at this point in time,” says McFadden.

Vaccinations can be scheduled at a variety of locations in the county, including the Health Department, who is also giving out second booster shots to those who are eligible.