Rochester, New York — Despite COVID cases have been steady in Monroe County, Dr. Ann Falsey at URMC said, it is expected that COVID-19 could surge when the weather gets cooler.
“What we have seen the previous two winters is that cases did increase during the winter time, but with COVID, I have learned to expect the unexpected,” Dr. Falsey said.
One helpful tool in combatting any surges this fall will be the newest booster shot.
This week, Monroe County is holding community clinics to offer the Bivalent booster shot, which offers protection against the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron variants.
It’s available to people 12 and older whose last COVID vaccine was received at least two months ago. “If it has been a while since your last booster or your last infection, I think it is a good idea. Although we are not seeing really serious disease in people with healthy immune systems, it can still be a really unpleasant illness,” Dr. Falsey said.
According to Dr. Falsey, vaccine protection has been effective in avoiding serious illness, even though they do not prevent infection entirely. “I think the main thing is people have been vaccinated, boosted, and infected so the popular immunity is generally higher and while there is always a concern about new variants we are seeing people protected against severe disease,” she said.
Dr. Falsey said as we head into fall, it is a good idea to take precautions, like wearing masks, especially while around vulnerable populations, like seniors and those with a weakened immune system. “Not visiting crowded places with no mask on did help to curtail the spread of the virus early in the pandemic when we didn’t have a vaccine so it was effective,” Dr. Falsey said.