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Number of Franklin Co. quarantine cases rise

Adirondack Health suspends elective surgeries amid crisis

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

SARANAC LAKE — Twenty more Franklin County residents were listed as being in quarantine Friday.

There are roughly 50 people countywide who have now been tested for the disease and are being monitored by the county Health Department — up from 30 people on Thursday, according to the county Emergency Operation Center. That number is expected to continue rising.

Six people in Franklin County received negative COVID-19 results and were removed from the quarantine list on Friday. There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in this county.

The total number of people in mandatory quarantine remained at 28 people in Essex County on Friday, according to the Essex County Health Department.

One more person was placed in precautionary quarantine Friday, the least restrictive level of quarantine, and there is still only one person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in isolation quarantine, the most restrictive level.

At least 22 people in Essex County have been tested and received results as of Friday, according to the health department — the number of people who have been tested and are still awaiting results is likely much higher.

Since this past Monday, March 16, health care centers in the Hudson Headwaters Network have ordered at least 80 COVID-19 tests per day, according to spokeswoman Jane Hooper. That figure doesn’t include all the patients who were screened for the disease. The network has health centers in Plattsburgh, Queensbury, Ticonderoga, Moreau, Champlain and Warrensburg.

There have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 in nearby areas, including three in Clinton County as of Friday evening.

New York continues to have the most COVID-19 cases of any state in the U.S.

Statewide, the number of confirmed cases rose to 7,102 cases by Friday afternoon, according to the state Department of Health. That’s 2,950 more than the 4,152 cases that were confirmed on Thursday. According to the New York Times, New York state now accounts for roughly half of all confirmed cases in the U.S. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has cited the state’s effort to ramp up testing as one of the factors behind the rapid increase in confirmed cases.

The state is continuing to contract with more private labs to ramp up its testing capabilities. According to Cuomo, the state conducted 10,000 tests overnight Thursday into Friday morning. At least 29 people have died from the disease in New York state as of Thursday evening, according to the New York Times.

Worldwide, the World Health Organization on Friday reported 234,073 confirmed cases, up by more than 24,247 from the day before. There have been 9,840 deaths as of Friday, up by 3,234 from 6,606 deaths as of Monday.

Elective surgeries

suspended

Adirondack Medical Center announced Friday that effective Monday, March 23, all elective surgeries will be suspended. The UVM Health Network, which includes Elizabethtown Community Hospital and the Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, announced it would suspend elective surgeries effective this past Wednesday.

The changes at the hospitals were made to open up hospital beds for the anticipated tide of patients seeking treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and to preserve personal protective equipment for hospital staff.

Public health officials at the local, state and national level have expressed concern that an influx of cases could overwhelm the capacity of hospitals and deplete available resources, forcing physicians to make difficult choices about patients’ care. That’s part of why many health officials are encouraging social distancing, which could help slow the spread of the virus and spread out cases overtime.

There are 51 staffed beds for patients at AMC, according to Adirondack Health spokesman Matt Scollin. That doesn’t include those that are being reserved for obstetrics patients or beds in the hospital’s geriatric psychiatry unit. There is one negative-pressure room in its obstetrics unit, so if a pregnant woman who has COVID-19 goes into labor, the hospital can deliver that birth.

There are eight ICU beds and eight ventilators at AMC.

At ECH, there are 25 patient beds. The hospital has two ventilators, according to spokeswoman Elizabeth Rogers.

ECH is what’s called a “critical access” hospital, meaning that it typically doesn’t provide intensive care services and instead collaborates with other hospitals around the region like Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh to provide that care.

At the nearby CVPH in Plattsburgh, there are 14 ICU beds, NCPR reported Wednesday. In Watertown, at Samaritan Health, there are 13 ICU beds altogether.

The novel coronavirus can impact a person’s ability to breathe, and a ventilator can be a life-saving piece of equipment for those with severe cases. Some patients with severe cases of COVID-19 have developed pneumonia in both lungs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More ventilators will be difficult to come by. There is a global shortage of ventilators, according to the New York Times — and manufacturers in the United States and Europe say they won’t be able to produce enough of them fast enough to meet the growing need.

This pandemic also arrives at a time when many local hospitals have been struggling financially, putting further strain on a spread-thin industry that’s been downsizing for years.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday issued a call seeking private companies willing to provide supplies to the state’s healthcare facilities.

“NY will pay a premium and offer funding,” Cuomo wrote on social media.

Companies that can supply personal protective equipment like masks, gloves and gowns should call 212-803-3100. Those with unused supplies should call 646-522-8477, or email COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov.

Visitations, testing

Adirondack Health on Thursday implemented a new policy restricting COVID-19 testing to inpatients at the hospital. The hospital is also limiting visitations to those deemed medically necessary, family members or legal representatives during end-of-life situations, or to one visitor for pediatric patients. The Alice Hyde Medical Center and ECH have also instituted similar policies.

Dr. Todd Whitman, Alice Hyde’s assistant chief medical officer, said in a statement Wednesday that the testing restrictions are due to a nationwide shortage of COVID-19 testing supplies.

“This is a widespread limitation of testing,” he said. “It’s not because we’re a rural area – they’re facing the same thing in New York City and metropolitan areas across the country.”

The visitation policy changes were made at the recommendation of the state Department of Health.

Anyone who suspects they have the disease are being encouraged to call AMC’s COVID-19 screening hotline at 518-897-2462, not show up at the hospital in person.

Alice Hyde has also launched a COVID-19 call center. It’s open Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 518-481-2700.

Those with flu-like symptoms are being asked to treat themselves at home by getting more rest, staying hydrated and self-isolating — but those with difficulty breathing should seek medical help.

Lake Placid exposure

Anyone who shopped at the Hannaford Supermarket in Lake Placid on Wednesday, March 11 during the hours of 11:30 a.m. and noon, and 3 to 4 p.m., may have been exposed to COVID-19, according to the Essex County Health Department.

“If you believe you were present at this location, at this date/time, please monitor your temperature twice a day for 14 days,” the department said in a notice on social media. “If you develop symptoms — a fever greater than 100.4, cough, and/or shortness of breath, call your healthcare provider for future guidance. Tell them that you may have been exposed to COVID-19.”

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