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North Country’s first COVID-19 case confirmed at Plattsburgh hospital

Coronavirus (Image provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

The first North Country case of COVID-19 has been confirmed, in Plattsburgh.

Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital President Michelle LeBeau reported Monday that one of the Plattsburgh hospital’s patients has been diagnosed with the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The patient — a male resident of Clinton County, according to the Plattsburgh Press-Republican — was admitted to the hospital Saturday night. He was identified as a possible case immediately, and hospital staff who have come in contact with him have been wearing protective equipment, the Press-Republican reported. The patient is in isolation in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

“I have complete confidence our team will continue this great work to provide this patient and the others that follow with exceptional care,” LeBeau said in a letter sent to hospital employees, physicians, board members, union leadership and the media.

“Please note,” she added, “due to a national shortage of testing kits and testing supplies only hospitalized patients or patients pending admission will be tested for COVID-19. We are communicating this new development to all physician offices to educate and thank them for their understanding. We continue to work with our state Department of Health on the procurement of additional testing kits and will share if and when we are successful.”

In Essex County, no cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed as of Monday evening, according to Essex County Health Department Public Information Officer Andrea Whitmarsh. Nine people have been placed under quarantine in that county, she said.

The county has five people registered in its system who have been tested for COVID-19 — though Whitmarsh acknowledged that the actual number of people who have been tested is higher.

People can be placed under three different types of quarantine: precautionary, mandatory and isolation quarantine. Precautionary applies to those who have traveled to certain countries recently and come back without symptoms. Mandatory typically applies to those who have traveled recently and developed symptoms. Isolation quarantine is for those who have a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Statewide, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 950 on Monday, up by 221 from Sunday, according to the state Department of Health. Seven people have died from the disease in New York state as of Monday evening. Worldwide, the World Health Organization on Monday reported 167,511 cases and 6,606 deaths.

Of the people around the world who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the vast majority recover.

The state is continuing to contract with more private labs to ramp up its testing capabilities. The state Department of Health had brought in 28 private labs as of Sunday to help conduct testing. According to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, that means a total testing capability of 6,000 per day.

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