Medical experts: Long Island has highest COVID-19 rates in New York
Medical experts say Long Island is seeing the highest rates of COVID-19 cases in New York.
The numbers, however, may not fully reflect patients who may have gotten sick from holiday gatherings yet.
Hospitals and doctors' offices are seeing more and more people coming back with a second round or more of COVID-19. This has placed Long Island over the top with the highest rates of infection and re-infection in the state.
And for some Long Islanders getting COVID-19 the second was even harder than the first time.
"It was worse this time. I don't know why," said Huntington resident Mike Renert. He and his 5-month-old son, Patrick, are recovering from COVID-19. It was his son's first time but Renert's second. He said he's still having some breathing problems.
Renert is not surprised to learn that Long Island's COVID-19 rates are the highest in New York right now.
Neither are infectious disease specialists.
"We just had the Thanksgiving holiday and, of course, a lot of transmission occurred then and we have the upcoming Christmas holiday and transmission will occur even more so then," said Dr. Sharon Nachman, of Stony Brook Medicine.
Nachman said hospitals across the Island are starting to see more and more COVID-19 cases, especially from people who have already had the virus.
New York state says Long Island has a re-infection rate of 10.2 for every 100,000, and first time infections are 26.6 per 100,000. Both are the highest rates in New York state.
Nachman cautions the numbers here may actually be on the low side because these are from professional lab tests not from home self-tests.
"So the fact that the numbers are high today means they are going to get higher over the next few weeks," she added.
Nachman said with people staying indoors because of winter weather and holiday gatherings, Long Islanders still need to remain vigilant with COVID-19.
Renert agreed, saying he'll be getting a booster shot when he's eligible but still wants to live his life as normally as possible.
"It is like the same thing for the past couple years. Same thing last year this time. Everyone gets together, everyone goes out and it comes back," Renert said.
To add to the COVID-19 worries, doctors also say the flu and RSV rates are skyrocketing on the Island, calling this a "tripledemic."
Doctors say they are even seeing patients come in with multiple viruses at the same time.
Doctors urge Long Islanders to get their COVID-19 boosters and yearly flu shots to give them as much protection as possible.