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Mercy employee, re-tested for COVID-19, now negative

Mercy Living Center In Tupper Lake (Enterprise file photo)

A Mercy Living Center employee who initially tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, prompting dozens of people to enter precautionary quarantine, has now tested negative for the disease.

A spokesman for Adirondack Health, which owns and operates the Tupper Lake nursing home, confirmed on Wednesday that the person subsequently tested negative following the initial positive result. The local hospital network obtained permission from the person before confirming the news.

“The employee remains under the observation and direction of Franklin County Public Health, per New York state Department of Health guidance,” spokesman Matt Scollin said in an email.

The employee was tested for COVID-19 as part of the now-routine twice-weekly testing required by an executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Different types of coronavirus tests have different accuracy rates.

The initial positive result on Sunday triggered immediate contact tracing as health officials sought to quickly inform anyone who may have come in contact with the employee of the possible exposure to the virus. As a result, the number of people in quarantine in Franklin County increased overnight from nine on Sunday to 70 on Monday, according to county Manager Donna Kissane. On Wednesday morning, 72 people were listed as being in quarantine.

The most recent round of test results from residents of the nursing home have all come back negative for COVID-19, according to Scollin.

It’s unclear if those quarantined due to the positive test at Mercy — whether residents, other employees or other members of the community — have all been given the OK by Franklin County Public Health to leave quarantine. A spokesperson for the county did not respond for comment by deadline Wednesday.

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Managing Editor Peter Crowley contributed reporting.

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