ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Before the vaccine came along contact tracing was our only weapon against COVID-19 and with new spikes in cases, testing could become a focus again regardless of vaccine status.
With more than 40% of Monroe and neighboring counties still not fully vaccinated, doctors and hospitals strongly urge all people vaccinated or not to rethink how they go out in public as the area ranks 11th in the state for most new cases.
“If you have been in contact with someone that you know is unvaccinated and you have not been social distancing or wear a mask and you are experiencing the slight symptoms of a cold or a cough, just get tested,” Juanita Washington with Anthony L. Jordan Health said.
“What I think vaccinated people should start doing is going back to wearing masks indoor,” Dr. Emil Lesho, a Healthcare Epidemiologist at Rochester Regional added. “And social distancing when possible.”
While more than 95% of COVID hospitalizations are people unvaccinated, doctors have discovered the delta variant can get to them by still infecting those with a vaccine putting a burden back on the hospital system.
“The level of the virus was remarkably similar and not significantly different between the vaccinated people and the unvaccinated people,” Dr. Lesho said. “Most of the vaccinated people did fine, what we’re seeing is the unvaccinated people are the ones ending up in the hospital.”
What seems like minor illnesses for those vaccinated could really be the delta variant, so doctors want everyone to keep testing and quarantine options in mind if these feelings come up.
“New cough, or a headache for example and gastrointestinal, COVID can present itself as anything,” Dr. Lesho continued. “As what we were learning. A fever presents itself, plus loss of taste, loss of smell.”
Despite not having the giant state-run COVID-19 testing sites set up like in 2020, most pharmacy chains and doctors’ offices still offer free to low costing tests daily. As of today, Monroe County has been averaging more than 2,000 COVID-19 tests a day.