Wayne County officials declared a state of emergency on Monday amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Wayne County Administrator Rick House said the statement was made in order to quickly issue specific orders if necessary.
These may include directing hospitals to delay elective surgical procedures.
“Wayne County has declared a state of emergency because of the high level of positivity,” House said. “Wayne County continues to see COVID rates higher than the past 12 months. As of December 6, 2021, there were 768 active cases and 94 deaths. Currently, 51 cases are hospitalized.”
House said the message to the public has remained the same.
“We continue to encourage all residents to get vaccinated (including boosters), wear face masks in indoor public places, and constantly wash hands and use hand sanitizer,” House said.
Wayne County has put in place a masking mandate for all county employees and visitors to county office buildings and facilities, but said there are no plans for broader mandates.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and work closely with our public health officials,” House said.
The province reported 102 new cases of COVID-19 last Wednesday, the highest single-day total since the start of the pandemic. A day later, the province had 115 new cases.
Among the highest rates in New York
The seven-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 testing in Wayne County is currently 13.4%, one of the highest rates in the state, according to data from the New York Department of Health.
In Wayne County, relatively fewer residents are also vaccinated than in the surrounding counties. Only 64.7% of Wayne County residents 5 years of age or older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That number is 74.7% in neighboring Monroe County and 72.6% in Ontario County, according to the Finger Lakes Regional Vaccine Hub.
As of Saturday, Wayne County has reported 10,744 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.
In a Facebook post Monday, Wayne County Public Health officials said 27 residents had died from COVID-10 since early November.
“Wayne County deaths from COVID-19 have risen in the past month, with 27 deaths between Nov. 1 and today,” the Facebook post read. “This represents a 40.8% increase over that time span, and the 27 deaths represent 28.7% of our total deaths from COVID-19 since ‘Day One’.”
Officials explained that the increase in COVID-19 cases has meant that hospitals in the region are at or near capacity.
“Getting vaccinated could mean the difference between a bed for someone with a critical non-COVID health problem, and a bed for someone who could have been kept out,” the WCPH Facebook post said.