Ulster County on Friday reported its total number of active coronavirus cases had topped 600 for the first time in two months.
On its online dashboard of COVID-19 information, the county reported 601 active cases of the illness, up 51 from the total reported Thursday and above the 600 level for the first time since the tally was 616 on Sept. 20.
Ulster’s active case number has been rising steadily since Nov. 4, when it stood at 240, and County Executive Pat Ryan sees similarities to a surge that occurred at this time a year ago.
“If you look at what happened … between mid-November and early December 2020, we saw a 378% increase in active cases,” Ryan said Thursday. “We’re at a similar moment now in 2021, where we’re starting to see a slow build of another possible wave.
“The decisions we make and the precautions we take in the next week or two really will be determinative of whether we have another big spike or whether we can keep things at a relative plateau,” Ryan said.
Last year’s fall surge was followed by an even more dramatic climb, to a peak of 2,622 active cases in Ulster County on Jan. 30, 2021. The numbers fell precipitously after that, as the winter holiday season ended and vaccinations began, and ultimately bottomed out at fewer than 20 active cases in early July. A small surge followed, driven largely by the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus, and there then was a steady decline prior to the current upswing.
Ryan said Ulster County’s goal “is to not repeat what happened last year during the winter.” He said the county Department of Health has administered 5,676 booster doses of the COVID vaccine, and he encouraged all persons who are eligible and who completed the initial vaccine series at least six months ago to get a booster.
Dutchess County on Friday also reported a jump in active cases of COVID-19, to 625 from the previous day’s 565. Like Ulster County, though, Dutchess is still far below its pandemic peak, which was 2,576 active cases on Jan. 16 of this year.
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Here are other local COVID-19 statistics.
Positive test rates
• Ulster County: 5.6%.
• Dutchess County: 3.4%.
• Ulster County: 20,308 confirmed cases, 19,414 recoveries, 293 deaths. (No new deaths reported Friday.)
• Dutchess County: 37,100 confirmed cases, 35,970 recoveries, 505 deaths. (No new deaths reported Friday.)
Data as of Thursday, according to New York state’s online vaccine tracker.
• Ulster County: 67.5% of the population fully vaccinated, 75% with at least one dose of a two-dose regimen, 85.4% of the 18-and-older population with at least one dose.
• Dutchess County: 62.4% fully vaccinated, 69.9% with at least one dose of a two-dose regimen, 79.8% of 18+ population with at least one dose.
In the schools
Here are the latest reports of COVID cases in area school districts.
• Kingston: One student at Robert Graves Elementary School.
• Onteora: Three students at the high school and one teacher at Bennett Elementary School.
• Red Hook: One teacher at the high school.
• Rondout Valley: One student at the high school and two students at the intermediate school.
• Saugerties: One student at Morse Elementary School, one student at Mount Marion Elementary School, and two staff members at the high school.
• Ulster BOCES: One student at the Career and Technical Education Center.
• Wallkill: One student at the high school.
For online local coverage related to the coronavirus, go to dailyfreeman.com/tag/coronavirus.