Local communities continue to struggle with pandemic surge


FONDA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With cases of the coronavirus continuing to rise throughout the state of New York, some local communities are struggling now more than ever.

“We’re seeing this really increase at a rate that is nothing even close to what we’ve seen in the spring,” Montgomery County Exec. Matthew Ossenfort said. “We’ve been seeing big increases, and for us, 80 in just a few days this week is a lot.”

Ossenfort said the county is facing challenges unlike anything they’ve previously dealt with during the statewide shutdown. And with a lack of resources, mixed with a delay of information coming in from daily testing, the county health department is being overrun.

“It’s a combination of the volume and the delay in testing, so when you’re not getting results quickly and you have more cases than you can handle in a given day, it really makes the process challenging,” he said.

Montgomery County has seen an additional 82 positive cases this week and has had a total of 15 deaths related to the coronavirus. With just 11 ICU beds available to the public and two already occupied, Ossenfort said capacity could become a major issue, especially with the announcement of being declared a Yellow Zone expected to happen in the near future.

“It’s problematic for the patient, it’s problematic for our first responders who might be transporting people, but it’s also problematic for the family members,” Ossenfort said. “Now people might have to go out of the area to a place they are not familiar with, with people they are not familiar with, and everybody is getting overwhelmed at this point, so it really is not going to be easy to find that care.”

With the distribution process of the Pfizer vaccine underway, Ossenfort said they are going to do everything they can to educate the public in hopes of easing any fears people may have regarding the vaccine.

“Some of the best minds in the world came together to make this vaccine, and I think it was done in a way that is safe and I feel very comfortable taking it,” he said. “The impact of this pandemic has had on a rural community like Montgomery County has been significant.”

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