Active COVID-19 cases in Westchester County are down by about 400 from where they were in the previous two weeks, but it is still too soon to determine whether this reduction from the summer surge is a trend.
During the past week, active cases in Westchester fell from 2,602 to 2,380. This continues a decrease in active cases, which were at 2,797 two weeks ago.
Although the Delta variant has made its presence known in Westchester with greater communicability of the disease and, in some cases, reinfection for those who previously had COVID-19 or breakthrough cases of people who are vaccinated, Westchester County Executive George Latimer said the high level of vaccination has helped the situation in the region.
“We have noticed, and very favorably so, that the amount of hospitalizations and the number of fatalities have been much much less during this reignition due to the Delta variant, primarily because of the level of vaccination here in Westchester County,” Latimer said.
So far, 638,779 Westchester residents have completed the vaccination series, meaning two shots of Pfizer or Moderna or one shot of Johnson & Johnson, Latimer said, and 700,012 individuals have had at least the first shot of the vaccination.
Latimer said around 20 to 25 percent of Westchester County’s 1,004,457 population are under the age of 12, making them ineligible for the vaccine at this time.
“We’re pleased to note that well over 85 percent of our adult population 18 years of age and older have been vaccinated,” Latimer said.
That number exceeds neighboring counties in New York and significantly exceeds national numbers, which are lagging under 50 percent in some jurisdictions.
“We are confident that we are more resistant to the disease here in Westchester County, at least from a residential standpoint, because of those vaccination totals,” Latimer said.
Latimer also noted that the county is seeing more vaccinations now than earlier in the summer, a positive indication that more residents are choosing to protect themselves against the Delta variant.
Despite a decrease in active cases, there are still hospitalizations in Westchester.
Currently, the county has 106 people who were hospitalized for COVID-19 over the past week. That number has come up from its low in June when hospitalizations were around the single digits.
Fatalities have also grown slightly during the past week. In the past week, seven Westchester residents have died from COVID-19, following six fatalities the week before. This is an increase from previous weeks where the county had no fatalities.
Latimer said that, with a hospital room inventory of 2,600 to 2,700 beds, Westchester County is nowhere near saturating the capacity of its health system.
“The health figure that matters in all of this is the number of fatalities,” Latimer said. “The lower we can keep the fatalities, that is the indication of success.”
Despite a decrease in active COVID-19 cases, Latimer said it is too soon to indicate a trend. The county has seen a flattening of numbers over the past few weeks. However, Latimer said the county wants to see a trend of four to seven weeks first.
With students back in classrooms and a resurgence of cooler weather ahead, Latimer said, those will both be factors that could impact COVID-19 cases throughout Westchester.
“If the numbers continue to drop, we will view that as a very positive sign,” Latimer said.
Westchester Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins encouraged residents who have not yet been vaccinated and are eligible to get their shot.
“Ninety percent of the people that are either in the hospital or unfortunately passing away are unvaccinated,” Jenkins said.
Westchester is continuing to hold walk-in and pop-up vaccination clinics throughout the county and is ready to help administer vaccinations to the under 12 population, as well as booster shots, as soon as they are each authorized by the federal government.