CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As the contagious delta variant continues to spread across the region, local counties are making adjustments in an effort to keep infections down, including shifting legislative meetings back to virtual and stressing the importance of vaccination.
In Albany County, the Legislature has made the decision to meet virtually for the remainder of the month.
“No one open meeting, going forward in-person, is worth someone dying,” said Chairman of the Legislature Andrew Joyce.
Joyce says the decision to go virtual was made after conversations with health experts, including Albany County Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Whalen. The chairman says the Legislature will decide on a monthly basis whether to keep meetings virtual.
In the past, the public has been more engaged with online meetings.
“Meetings where we had no public participation before in-person, now we have more than we’ve ever had before,” Joyce explained.
As delta spreads, he’s stressing the importance of vaccine education, “The data is there. I think we need to talk more about the data, the safety of the vaccine and what can happen if you’re not vaccinated and you get COVID.”
Last Friday, the CDC released a study from 13 jurisdictions across the country on breakthrough infections. The study, which ran from April to mid-July, found that 92% of new cases and hospitalizations, and 91% of deaths were amongst the unvaccinated after delta became the dominant strain.
As of last week, 87% of breakthrough cases resulting in death were those 65 or older.
In Warren County, officials say the majority of new cases are amongst those who are not fully vaccinated.
“Overwhelmingly here in Warren County, the experience has been positive. We’ve got about 300 breakthrough cases out of almost 43,000 people fully vaccinated,” Warren County spokesman Don Lehman said.
When delta cases first started rising in New York, the Capital Region saw the state’s highest positivity rate. Months later, it’s in the middle of the pack. As of Monday, the North County now has the state’s highest seven-day rolling average.