Ashley Hopkins, Staff Writer |
Common Council held their weekly meeting last Friday, Sept. 21st and went into detail about where Otsego County stands when it comes to COVID-19 cases.
According to Danielle McMullen, Chief of Staff to SUNY Oneonta President Cardelle, as of right now, 88 percent of students are fully vaccinated, with 94 percent of students having at least one dose of the vaccine. Cases for the county are still on the decline: 140 active cases compared to 187 reported on Sept. 9. However, vaccination rates are still lower than the state average and even the national average. 54 percent of eligible adults are fully vaccinated in Otsego County, which is below the state average of 74 percent and the nationwide average of 55 percent. County Representative Danny Lapin said that the “swirling misinformation” is to blame for Otsego’s low vaccination rates. He said that he hopes to be able to join forces with other council members to address this matter.
Surprisingly, cases are no longer coming primarily from the college student population. The county is now seeing more and more cases pop up in K-12 kids. To combat this, City Health Officer Diane Georgeson says that as soon as the Pfizer vaccine is available to kids 12 and younger and approval is granted, in-school vaccination clinics will open hopefully by the end of Oct. to vaccinate children ages five to 11. The fact that severe hospitalized cases are people who are unvaccinated is maintained.
More accessibility was credited to controlling the number of cases, but the council has plans on expanding testing availability in hopes of decreasing the number of cases even further.
We can all attest to the fact that the way this semester has gone so far is much different than the Fall 2020 semester. “A lot of progress was made especially between Mayor Herzig and Former Acting President Craig and working together and highlighting what we can do together versus letting that crisis continue to hit us against one another,” said McMullen. There is much more clear planning in place along with much more open communication, which has made this semester go a lot smoother.
McMullen also said something really inspiring: “A former mentor of mine had once said to me to ‘never let a crisis go to waste.’ And I know how traumatic last year was, but we also have a lot of people with a lot of battle experience. I think it’s a testament to the strength of the campus community, but also the local community, and coming together and using that learned experience and making sure what happened last year didn’t happen again.” Now more than ever we have realized that we need to come together and lean on one another to make progress and keep our community safe.
Overall, it is a nice change of pace to hear that the number of cases is on the decline. However, this will only continue to happen if the rest of the unvaccinated members of our community do their part and get vaccinated.