ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With an increase in COVID cases over the past couple months in Warren County, it’s been all hands on deck for its local health department. Now, with the Omicron variant being found in the United States, they are preparing for its spread to New York by trying to get as many people as possible to get vaccinated.

“Obviously, this is concerning that something that’s more transmissible than the Delta variant, which has been the bane of our existence this summer and fall, you get a little concerned,” said Don Lehman, Warren County Director of Public Affairs.

Due to a surge in cases and the concern of the new variant, New York State reopened a COVID vaccine and testing site at Aviation Mall Wednesday. Lehman said the county has been urging those who haven’t been vaccinated to do so, and those who have and are eligible to get their booster shot.

“We are hopeful that these vaccines will have some ability to help us with this new strain,” explained Lehman.

In another effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Warren County is also looking for more contact tracers.

“It’s a tough job. We are seeing burnout with these folks. Some of them have been doing it the whole 20 months, but a lot of them are part-time working at an hourly rate trying to supplement our full-time nurses and public health staff,” stated Lehman.

The contact tracers are working around the clock to help the notify the public of exposures.

While there is still much to be leaned when it comes to omicron, a spokesperson for Albany County saying,
“We continue to monitor our COVID data with the County Health Department, especially our hospitalizations, in order to determine our next steps in terms of any additional COVID restrictions. Any potential new requirements put in place would be most effective with a regional approach, and we are exploring our options with our neighboring county partners.”

Since there has been an increase in COVID cases, concerns of the new variant, and more holiday gatherings coming up, officials say get vaccinated, wear a mask, and wash your hands to prevent further spread of this virus.