ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the COVID-19 numbers in the Finger Lakes are still a problem but also said they’re definitely headed in the right direction. We’re getting over the holiday spike and many are wondering if that will be the last spike we’ll see.
Doctors said they’re hoping the holiday spike is the last we’ll see but it’s to soon to tell especially with mutations of the virus popping up around the country.
Dr. Emil Lesho is an infectious disease specialist with Rochester Regional Health. He said what happened in California with COVID-19 is something he’s remaining cautious of in our region.
“Now we know they have their own mutated strain there, we’re keeping a close eye on the strains from the United Kingdom, from Brazil as well. Those are more contagious than our original COVID,” he said.
Dr. Lesho said vaccines are the key now and studies show they protect against mutated strains for now.
“I think we need to get more vaccinations completed because the more infections there are that provides more opportunity for the virus to mutate itself. The virus continues to change it could change enough we could need a whole new series of vaccines we don’t know yet.”
He said this wave of COVID has been the worst he’s seen and hospital admissions are just now starting to decrease. Many people are still sick in the ICU.
“We have to remind ourselves given the threat of these mutated strains which are more contagious its important to continue to mask continue to social distance.”
Dr. Lesho also said there’s a new study with concerns that COVID-19 could reoccur each winter, similar to how the flu does. Again, he said we won’t know if the vaccine protects against transmission until we’ve gone through a full season of COVID with the vaccine.
The Finger Lakes region still has one of the highest hospitalization rates in the state along with Long Island.