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Franklin County COVID-19 cases jump to 8

Statewide death toll jumps by 253 overnight

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

SARANAC LAKE — Despite restrictions on coronavirus testing, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Franklin County rose to eight on Monday, up from five cases the day before.

Franklin County Public Health is working on contact tracing and evaluating the risk of exposure to others for each of these cases. The department declined to provide additional information about the new cases, citing privacy laws.

There were 61 people in quarantine countywide awaiting test results as of Monday, according to the Franklin County Emergency Operation Center. That’s 21 more people in quarantine since Sunday. Altogether, 92 people have received negative test results for COVID-19.

In Essex County, the number of confirmed cases has stayed at five for nearly one week. But county Public Health Director Linda Beers has said that likely has to do with testing availability. Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, the Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone and the Elizabethtown Community Hospital have all restricted COVID-19 testing to inpatients in an effort to conserve testing materials, which are in short supply.

“The lower number of confirmed cases in Essex County is very likely the result of reduced access to tests, which is occurring throughout the region,” Beers said last week.

Altogether, 81 people have been tested, and have received results, in Essex County. That’s up by 20 people from this past Friday. Seventy-six of the tests so far have come back negative.

As the number of people in quarantine continues to rise in both counties, at the direction of the state, local hospitals are piecing together plans for how to dramatically increase capacity to accommodate an anticipated influx of patients seeking care.

Death roll rises

The death toll in New York state has skyrocketed in the last few days.

Between Sunday and Monday, 253 people died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the total death toll up to 1,218 people from 728 on Saturday, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The total number of positive cases of COVID-19 statewide rose by nearly 7,000 between Sunday and Monday, bringing the total number of cases to nearly 66,500. The majority of the confirmed cases — 36,221 — have been in New York City, where thousands of people are being tested for the disease every day.

New York has tested more people than any other state — 186,000, or 1% of the state’s population — so far this month, according to the New York Times. This state has more than four times the number of confirmed cases than New Jersey, the state with the second-most number of confirmed cases.

Cuomo, during his daily press briefing on Monday, warned that the coronavirus outbreak is expected to get worse.

Dr. David Clauss, chief medical officer at Elizabethtown Community Hospital, has repeatedly stressed the importance of isolation and social distancing here, particularly now.

“It is the public who really have the potential to turn this around right now,” he said at a press conference on March 18. “The most effective means of combating this is the prevention of new cases. The most effective way to achieve that is strict, severe social distancing.”

“In this area, we are fortunate to be at what may be the very very start of community spread of this disease,” he added. “This is the time when social distancing can have the most effect. This is the time when hand washing can be most effective.”

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