Cattaraugus County has reported more than 500 COVID-19 cases so far this month and five deaths.
As of Tuesday, the county health department said 540 cases of the coronavirus had been detected by testing so far in September.
The new cases are presumably the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, which have caused COVID-19 cases to rise across the state and nation where on average 400 people are dying each day from complications from the virus.
The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month approved new bivalent COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna which are specially designed to be effective against the Omicron subvariants as well as the original virus.
Health officials insist that the original COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna provide protection to keep people from getting seriously ill, requiring hospitalization or dying. The new bivalent vaccines will prevent illness from the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
The Cattaraugus County Health Department will offer the new bivalent vaccine to residents at a vaccination clinic Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Jamestown Community College College Center on North Union Street.
To reserve a spot, go online to www.cattco.org and fill out a short form on the county’s website, or call 701-3777 for help in reserving a vaccination.
First and second doses of Pfizer and Moderna for children will also be available at the vaccination clinic. Some walk-ins will be accepted.
At 540 cases so far this month, the county is unlikely to record enough cases to exceed the number of cases diagnosed in August when 802 residents were reported.
The county has now recorded 22,555 cases since March 2020.
Other months and the number of cases reported include:
January — 4,739 (record)
February — 1,161
March — 411
April — 740
May — 1,434
June — 479
July — 383
August — 802
September — 540 (partial)
Cattaraugus County, along with much of the rest of the counties in the state, remains in a medium level of infection with the virus.
In the seven days up to and including Sept. 18, there were eight new hospital admissions, but that is a 24% drop over the previous week. New COVID-19 admissions were listed by the CDC as 174.7 per 100,000 population.
There were 92 cases reported in the seven days ending Sept.18, or per 120.8 per 100,000, a 25% drop from the previous seven days.
Average positivity in the seven days ending Sept. 18, was 13.3%, down 5.7% from the previous seven-day period. The number of tests continues to decline, with 671 residents tested in the seven days ending Sept. 12. Many people are relying on at-home testing, most of which is not reported to the health department.
With 76,000 residents, Cattaraugus County reports 53.1% of residents have completed their vaccine series, 56.4% of the eligible population has received at least one booster dose and 57.2% have received their first dose of vaccine.