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Ontario County issues new update on COVID, requests masks and testing ahead of holiday gatherings

In light of increased local cases of COVID-19, a troubling increase in regional hospitalizations and the approaching holidays, Ontario County leaders today urged the public to mask up, get vaccinated, get boosted and keep themselves and their families safe this holiday season.

“Vaccines remain our best defense against serious illness caused by COVID. We highly recommend every resident eligible to do so gets vaccinated,” said Ontario County Public Health Director Mary Beer. “In addition, our local data shows that the boosters are incredibly important as we move farther from the date of initial vaccination. We urge everyone who is vaccinated to get their booster shot as soon as possible if they are eligible to do so under the current CDC and FDA guidelines.”

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“Unfortunately, we have been here before. We know what works, even if many of us are sick and tired of doing it. The more residents we can get vaccinated, the fewer opportunities the virus has to circulate unchecked,” County Administrator Chris DeBolt said. “We also know that masking is highly effective in reducing the risk of infection when in situations where social distancing is not possible. We remind all members of the public that Ontario County has required everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to be masked in all County facilities since early fall, and we strongly encourage everyone to mask up in public settings. It is not just to protect you, but to protect everyone around you who may be susceptible to serious illness were they to become infected.”

“While Ontario County does not have the staff to actively police and enforce the vaccine or mask mandate Governor Hochul announced earlier this week, that doesn’t mean that masking and vaccinations are not important tools for our community to combat the current surge of the virus in our region,” Ontario County Board Chairman Jack Marren said. “We urge everyone to be conscientious during this season of giving and caring. Mask up when in public to help protect your fellow community members. If you are not vaccinated, consider getting your vaccine and ask your doctor about any questions or concerns you might have. If you are vaccinated, please get your booster shot if you are eligible. Vaccinations and boosters are our best protection against people becoming seriously ill from this virus.”


Administrator DeBolt went on to urge residents to consider getting tested prior to family gatherings. “We know that everyone wants to be with loved ones over the coming holidays. We do too. Please be smart and safe when gathering with friends and family to celebrate. Ontario County will be offering two free community drive-through testing clinics to provide residents the opportunity to be tested before the upcoming holidays. Drive-through testing clinics will be held on Thursday December 23rd and Thursday December 30th. Both clinics will be held at the County’s Transportation Center at 2930 County Route 48 in Hopewell. Registration links and information can be found on the Ontario County Public Health homepage. Testing clinics are open to all Ontario County residents, and registration is required.”



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