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New COVID case trends have stopped rising across Western New York



Rochester, New York — New cases have stopped rising since the start of May, but the BA.2 Covid Subvariant is still active across Western New York.

Spring Festivals are back in the Greater Rochester Area, looking a lot like how they were celebrated before the pandemic. The latest big event to return is the Lilac Festival where people have little concerns with Covid as they enjoy time with family and friends outdoors with music, food, and shopping. “This is what we need as a community,” festivalgoer Jospeh Giannoccaro told us. “Bringing everybody together to enjoy the festival, it’s wonderful.”

“It just makes me feel like everything is going back to normal slowly,” Kayla Hardin added as she and her friends enjoyed LIVE music. “Covid is losing and we’re winning. We’re getting our lives back to the way they’re supposed to be.”

Charts from the State Department of Health show new Covid cases in Monroe and all neighboring counties have remained steady since the start of May with a 7-day average of 13.4%. While higher than before BA.2 emerged, doctors have not seen this contribute to more hospitalizations. But remain stretched thin due to non-Covid hospitalizations. “We’ve been operating pretty close to capacity in the whole Finger Lakes region for several months now,” Dr. Angela Branche, an Infectious Disease Physician at URMC, said. “Because it’s not just Covid, it’s influenza, RSV, heart disease, and everything else that causes hospitalizations.”

Doctors anticipate we could see cases decline like last summer. But immunity can wear off over time in people not boosted, putting them at risk for reinfection. “There are two new Omicron Sub Variants, BA.4 and BA.5 and those two variants evade the defense people have after infection,” Dr. Branche explained. “So, reinfection might contribute to cases this summer.”

Doctors advise you still have a mask handy even though Covid cases have not risen in a few weeks, if you plan to travel a long distance to meet people you have not seen in a long time or are outdoors but can’t socially distance in a crowded setting.

For those who are 50 years or older and people deemed immunocompromised, second booster shots are still available.