Covid cases in 2021 far more locally than in 2020

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 January 2022 at 12:41 pm

More spread of Covid after restrictions lifted in 2021, students return to in-person school

Chart information courtesy of Genesee & Orleans County Health Departments

The number of Covid cases was far more locally in 2021 than in 2020 despite Covid vaccinations that covered about 60 percent of the population in Genesee and Orleans counties.

In Orleans there were nearly four times as many cases and Genesee more than tripled the number of cases in 2021 compared to 2020, when Covid emerged and prompted then Gov. Andrew Cuomo and public health officials closed schools, restricted businesses and public gatherings.

In Orleans, the number of Covid cases increased from 1,376 in 2020 to 5,142 last year. In Genesee, the cases were up from 2,449 to 7,538.

The number of Covid-related deaths was down in Orleans from 62 in 2020 to 41 in 2021. However, in Genesee the number of Covid-related deaths was up from 29 in 2020 to 129 in 2021, according to data from the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

The Covid cases have steadily been on the rise since the summer.

Genesee-Orleans health officials say the communities have yet to reach herd immunity in vaccinations. The percent of people vaccinated locally is behind the rate in the region and state.

The effectiveness of the vaccines also wanes in time, and about 30 percent of the Covid infections later after Aug. 1 were “breakthrough cases” among those vaccinated many months earlier. That has prompted public health officials to urge people to get the Covid booster shot. Those vaccinated, even several months ago, also are less likely to get seriously sick and be hospitalized than those who aren’t vaccinated, Paul Pettit, public health director in the two counties, said to local reporters on Thursday.

In 2021, things have returned somewhat to “normal” with local schools back to in-person learning every day without remote learning or a hybrid schedule. Businesses were also able to operate at full in-person capacity and community events and festivals were back.

New variants – Delta and Omicron – have also emerged and proven very contagious.

The following charts show the cases broken down per age group. Children and younger adults have accounted for most of the new cases since September.

Covid cases have been surging dramatically in the two local counties so far in 2022, following the indoor gatherings over the holidays and spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Genesee had 1,509 new cases in December, which was by far the most it had during the pandemic – until this month. The county already reported 2,118 cases during the first 10 days of January.

Orleans had 1,045 cases in November, the most during the pandemic for Orleans, and followed that with 938 in December. The county already has 1,125 in the first 10 days of January.