ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — While COVID-19 hospitalizations and positivity rates remain relatively low, some leaders warn we are seeing a slight increase in cases since the beginning of the month, worrying to health officials and it could be due to the large number of people who still are not vaccinated.
Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in younger populations and unvaccinated adults, worrisome to leaders who say this could increase the risk of transmission of variants in the community.
Looking at data from the State Department of Health, the positivity rate for COVID-19 tests was 1.3% on July 12. Looking back one week, the rate 0.7% on July 7 and 2 weeks ago on the rate was again 0.7% on July 1.
“Very worrisome, there’s a risk of transmission to people who are not yet vaccinated or who haven’t had as good an immunological response to the vaccine,” said Dr. Nancy Bennett, Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub.
That includes children ages 12 and younger who are not yet eligible for the vaccine but are making up a majority of new cases, according to data from the Monroe county vaccine.
“We would like to really get that group vaccinated quickly, and school is going to be starting in the fall and if they’re not vaccinated in the fall, and they’re back in the classroom there’s going to be more and more risk of transmission of the virus,” said Dr. Bennett.
More transmission could increase the risk of variants and possibly impact the need for a vaccine booster shot. Currently, booster shoots are not recommended by the FDA and CDC.
Doctors with Rochester Regional General say three things are being researched when it comes to boosters; number of anti-bodies over time in those vaccinated, efficacy against complications, and clinical trials.
“What type of data, and how much data and strengthen of data that’s going to be required to ultimately conclude a booster dose is needed, is not yet fully collected,” said Dr. Walsh, an Infectious Disease Expert Rochester Regional.
In the meantime, leaders point to the vaccine as the way to keep COVID-19 positivity rates low.
“Without vaccinating the remainder or at least some large portion of the remainder, we’ll still virus circulating, we’ll still have hospitalizations, deaths occurring. We really need to get more people vaccinated,” said Dr. Bennett.
The FDA has issued a warning for a rare neurological syndrome for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but leaders locally believe the complications of covid-19 still outweigh the risk of this new nerve syndrome. Leaders also showing optimism that the vaccine will be fully approved for all ages before school starts in the fall.