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Broome County officials encourage booster shots as COVID-19 cases spike

BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG)—Broome County continues to see a spike in COVID-19 cases, with 138 new cases announced on Friday. The county currently has over 900 active cases, and a 7% positivity rate. 

County Executive Jason Garnar said the increase is a result of Halloween socializing. He said with Thanksgiving coming up, cases could rise even more.

“We saw it last year over the holidays, and it’s going to happen once again,” Garnar said. “If people do not do their part, our numbers will jump tremendously in the next few weeks.” 

The Food and Drug Administration approved boosters for all adults on Friday. Garnar said given the high spread in the county, it is crucial that residents get their booster shot. Those who got a Moderna or Pfizer shot over six months ago, or a Johnson & Johnson vaccine two months ago, are eligible for a booster. 

The shots are available at the Broome County Health Department, as well as local pharmacies and healthcare providers. 

Interim Health Director Mary McFadden said the spike in COVID-19 cases could have to do with the fact that vaccines lose some of their efficacy over time. 43% of cases in the past seven days were in vaccinated residents. 

“Vaccines do wane,” McFadden said. “That’s a normal process. So, that’s why it’s so important, like the county executive said, to get your booster.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced that only 47% of New York seniors had received their booster shot.