In 2022, Covid cases increased locally but deaths declined

Photos by Tom Rivers: The first Covid vaccination clinic run by Orleans County was Jan. 28, 2021 at the Ridgeway fire hall. The slots filled up quickly and 100 doses were given out. Dan Doctor, in front at right, served as a greeter at the clinic. He is chatting with David Bell, the emergency preparedness coordinator for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 January 2023 at 11:19 am

Covid-19 wasn’t in the news as much in 2022 as the previous two years with many of the restrictions lifted and the return of community festivals, in-person and indoor graduations and other large events. Life was pretty much back to normal locally.

But there were actually more confirmed Covid cases in both Genesee and Orleans counties in 2022 than in either 2021 or 2020. The number of deaths from Covid was down in 2022 from the previous year in the two counties. However, the two counties reported 71 confirmed Covid-related deaths.

The Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments  continue to urge people to keep up with their Covid vaccinations and take precautions to avoid getting Covid and other respiratory illnesses.

The Orleans Hub asked the local health departments for the data on Covid cases and deaths each year since the Covid pandemic started in March 2020.

These charts provide the confirmed cases in each county, and the deaths attributed to Covid.

In the nearly three years of Covid, there have been 18,775 cases in Genesee (population 58,388) and 206 deaths.

In Orleans (population 40,343), there have been 12,055 confirmed Covid cases and 126 deaths. Those numbers in both counties don’t include January of 2023.

The two counties had their biggest Covid surge of the pandemic to start 2022. Orleans County had 855 confirmed cases in the week of Jan. 5-11, followed by 645 the following week and then 521 from Jan. 19-25, 2022.

The numbers are far less a year later. The county reported 41 cases from Jan. 11 to 17, 2023, and then 72 from Jan. 18-24.

Genesee’s omicron surge about a year ago included 1,848 cases from Jan. 5-11, 2022, followed by 1,014 from Jan. 12-18 and then 847 the following week.

Genesee has significantly fewer cases now. The county reported 73 cases from Jan. 11-17, and then 60 cases from Jan. 18-24.

After the huge increase in cases about a year ago from the omicron variant, the two counties had another increase in cases in April and May, and then a slight uptick in September and around Thanksgiving, said Kaitlin Pettine, director of health promotion and public information officer for the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.

“Currently, Covid-19 cases continue to fluctuate and we are at medium level of risk per the CDC,” Pettine said. “Seasonal flu and other respiratory illness continue to circulate.”

She said the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments continues to recommend the following precautions to help avoid spreading Covid and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Stay home when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you are coughing and sneezing.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Wash and sanitize frequently shared/touched items.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Jack Welch, Orleans County chief administrative officer, assisted at a rapid test clinic in early January 2021 at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds. He is shown in a driver’s side mirror of a car in line. The volunteers wore personal protective equipment when they ran the rapid test clinics during the winter.