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Franklin County confirms it has a COVID-19 case, too

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

SARANAC LAKE — The first case of COVID-19 in Franklin County has been confirmed.

The person has been under quarantine since this past Saturday, March 21, according to the county’s Emergency Operations Center. He or she — the county did not specify — is now in isolation quarantine at home. The county Public Health department is required to check on that person twice a day, contact the person randomly and find people who may have been within 6 feet of them recently.

No identifying information was released about the patient. It’s unclear where the person was tested, if the person had symptoms prior to being in quarantine, or if the person has traveled recently. It’s unclear how likely, or unlikely, it is that other members of the public were exposed to the virus.

Franklin County Public Health Director Kathleen Strack was not available to answer questions Wednesday and has not responded to prior requests for information since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The county Public Health department deferred all questions to the county’s COVID-19 hotline run by its EOC, which is set up to take information from possible patients and point them in the right direction, but for the last few days the EOC has either deferred specific questions from the media back to the Public Health department or said it was unable to provide answers.

The Public Health department received notification of the positive result on Tuesday. The news was announced Wednesday. In a news release, the county EOC said the Public Health department is “conducting an investigation to determine where this individual may have been exposed” and tracing possible exposure risks through contact tracing.

There are now more than 60 people in quarantine awaiting test results in Franklin County, according to the EOC. As of Tuesday, there were more than 50. The exact number of people in quarantine was not given. At least 47 people had been tested and received negative results as of Tuesday.

“All indications point to the possibility of a sharp increase in positive tests and quarantines,” a news release from the EOC reads. “The best way to avoid contracting COVID-19 is to reduce the contact with other people and stay home.”

As of Tuesday, Essex County had four confirmed COVID-19 cases. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were more than 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Franklin County was one of the last of New York’s 62 counties to have reported no confirmed COVID-19 cases. Its county seat is Malone, and it stretches from the Canadian border south to include Tupper Lake and half of Saranac Lake, which is also partly in Essex County.

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