ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — There has been a steady increase in new COVID-19 cases for the month of July, with data from the state department of health reporting the Finger Lakes Region with the 5th highest 7-day average positivity rate in the state, sitting at 1.1%.
There were 139 new confirmed cases during last week. Local leaders attribute the increase to a number of factors, but say the main reason is unvaccinated people.
Monroe County releases data every Monday, reporting numbers for the previous week. The latest numbers show 139 new confirmed cases during the week of July 12 to July 19. That is a 52% increase from the week before (July 5 to July 12; 91 new cases) and a 61% percent increase from the first week of July (June 28 to July 6: 86 new cases).
The currently 7-day rolling average is 20 new cases per day.
“It’s mostly people who are not vaccinated and who are probably not taking all the precautions they should be taking if they’re not vaccinated,” said Dr. Nancy Bennett, Finger Lakes Vaccine.
With the increase in transmission, fear is forming over covid variants that could be more transmissible like the Delta variant. According to the University of Rochester laboratory;
“We continue to monitor for the presence of the Delta variant in our community. Nineteen percent (19%) of 54 PCR-positive specimens collected from area patients during the period of June 2, 2021, thru June 16, 2021, and tested in UR Medicine Labs, were positive for the Delta variant as determined by Whole Genome Sequencing,”
— Dwight Hardy, Ph.D., director of clinical microbiology for UR Medicine Labs.
Leaders say most new cases are happening in those not vaccinated.
“So far the vaccines appear to be effective against the delta variant but that’s the deepest concern,” said Dr. Bennett.
According to the county’s dashboard, a majority of new cases are happening in people under 40 years of age. Leaders say the rise in cases among the vaccine-eligible younger population is due to vaccine hesitancy and those who aren’t vaccinated not following COVID-19 safety protocols. The answer could be more targeted and accessible vaccine efforts.
“There’s been a tendency for people to feel as though their questions have been ignored and I think it’s very very important that we show that we respect their questions and show that they deserve to have them answered,” said Dr. Nancy Bennett.
In Monroe County, the zip codes with the highest number of new cases are 14608. 14609, 14613, and 14621.