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Page last updated on November 29, 2021 at 3:15 pm

Hi, this is Mayor John Hamilton, it's Monday, November 29, 2021, just giving the public the update on the pandemic and local activities.

So we continue to be very concerned as I talked about last week right before Thanksgiving that some indicators are really going in the wrong direction. It's very concerning as we head into the winter that our case numbers are up, our hospitalizations are up. We've seen death rates that we hadn't seen locally frankly for almost a year in terms of we had a two-week period of a death a day on average in Monroe County, which we hadn't seen since last winter. All this is continuing to concern us as we get into the colder months and more indoor time, knowing that the variants and the pandemic are still really among us and rising.

Then, of course, we learned about the new variant, Omicron, that has emerged just in the last few days and is of serious concern. President Biden indicated it's a genuine concern, not a reason to panic, but it is a reason to be very concerned. We were very much worried about a new strain, a variant coming. This may be from the less vaccinated parts of the world, but can come back to the more vaccinated parts. May be highly transmissible, there's a lot of science still to be done and more to learn about it, but it is a new variant of concern. We know what Delta did when that hit, it really transformed our trajectory last summer and fall. We hope that this may not do the same, but it's possible.

It is just a reminder of how important it is to get vaccinated. All the indications are the vaccines do dramatically help against this new variant as well. More science to come on that, but it is what keeps us safe, it is what keeps people from having serious illness if they get infected out of the hospital, out of the fatalities that we still see coming in the state. So it's just a reminder please, please, please follow the science, listen to the health experts. Thank you all for getting vaccinated and those who've gotten your boosters. Thank you to those who continue to mask. We have our local mask ordinance still in place here.

While we got our numbers down to 80 or so cases per hundred thousand, they're now back up to 180 per hundred thousand, so there's more infection happening locally. The masking is important. Distancing, continue to be careful. We're not out of the woods. I know it's tiring, it's exhausting. Thank a health care worker. Thank a first responder. Thank an essential worker for all that they do to help us. And please do your part to help protect others from the spread of this pandemic, which is still with us.

We'll continue to keep you posted. Thanks for all that you do and call if you have questions.