ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – For the majority of New York State, things are looking up as COVID-19 infections come down — positive cases have declined nearly 50-percent in the last seven days. Governor Kathy Hochul called the sharp decline a “turning point.”
Despite the decline, the Southern Tier is seeing an increase in cases, up 13-percent in the past week. Experts believe the reason for the increase is partially due to the regions low vaccination rate.
“I think you have to look towards our vaccination rates,” Dean of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Dr. Richard Terry said. “They’re among the lowest in the state.”
Officials are preparing for the possibility of those numbers trending even lower. According to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the agency is considering “changing” what it means to be fully vaccinated. Dr. Walensky said that definition may expand to include booster shots.
“It’s not to say that you’re not protected,” Arnot Health Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Justin Nistico said. “It’s just that we want a absolute knowledge that you are in fact protected. Making the definition change is really just saying ‘did you check all the boxes to get to the point where we know you’re protected?'”
If guidance were to change, the number of American’s fully vaccinated would drop dramatically — going from 63-percent to under 40-percent.