COVID case numbers in Putnam County remain high, and this raises concern among local health officials. Increasing case numbers in March, after an all-time high in January, are especially worrisome given the backdrop of more transmissible virus variants spreading across the country. Officials everywhere are hoping the race to vaccinate can outpace the rise in case numbers.
“Rising case numbers cause concern for setbacks in reopening,” said Alison Kaufman, DVM, MPH, the new epidemiologist, recently welcomed at the Putnam County Department of Health. The science of epidemiology, which is essentially the study of community disease patterns in a search for causes and solutions, is the backbone of evidence-based public health practice. Dr. Kaufman, who holds a doctorate of veterinary medicine, in addition to a master’s degree in public health, joined the staff in March.
“While there is much reason for optimism,” continued Dr. Kaufman, “due to the greater availability of testing, improvements in treatment, and a rapidly accelerating vaccination campaign, it remains important for people to continue efforts to reduce transmission by wearing masks in public, social distancing and frequent handwashing as we work toward the goal of herd immunity.”
Vaccination numbers continue to rise in the county and are now reported weekly on Fridays via the recently upgraded COVID dashboard, posted on the Putnam County website at https://www.putnamcountyny.com/covid19/. As of April 9, nearly 40 percent of Putnam residents had received at least one vaccine dose and more than 25 percent of total residents had a completed vaccine series as reported on NYS Vaccine tracker.
“Contingent on the availability and the delivery of vaccines, our hope and intentions are to hold PODs on Tuesdays and Thursdays and offer one on each side of the county every week,” explained Kathy Percacciolo, POD coordinator and supervising public health nurse. PCDOH PODs are held at Lakeview Plaza in Brewster and at the Philipstown Recreation Center in Garrison. Announcements and registration links are posted on the county website at https://www.putnamcountyny.com/covid-19-vaccine-information/ when vaccine doses are guaranteed, just a day or two before the date. Frequent checking is advised.
Eligibility for vaccination opened further on April 6 with individuals 16 years of age and older becoming qualified. Those in the 16- to 17-year-old age category must register for the Pfizer vaccine, currently being administered at many state-run clinics. The PCDOH generally receives Moderna which is currently FDA approved for individuals 18 and over.
The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com, or visit our social media sites on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @PutnamHealthNY.