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Franklin County cases jump

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

There were 15 new cases of COVID-19 reported by Franklin County Public Health Friday, possibly the start of a post-Thanksgiving spike, according to public health officials.

These new cases bring the county’s total number of known active positives to 68. That is close to the county’s single-day peak of 72 active cases on Nov. 20.

Franklin County Public Health Public Health Program Improvement Specialist Erin Streiff said four of these cases were linked to one specific Thanksgiving gathering and that the others are mostly linked to other previously positive individuals in quarantine.

“We do anticipate seeing additional cases related to the Thanksgiving holiday for the next coming week or even longer,” she said.

Streiff said Friday night that more cases had been coming in throughout the day, too, and will be reported in Saturday’s statistics.

“Franklin County Public Health recommends avoiding gatherings that include people from different households,” Franklin County Public Health employee Sarah Granquist wrote in a press release. “Furthermore, it is crucial that people remain home if they feel sick, even if it is just mild symptoms such as a headache or stuffy nose. Staying home when sick is a key measure to reducing spread.”

Streiff asked people who test positive and attended a gathering to reveal that to the county, as it could make a difference in saving lives.

“Most people cooperate because they want to do the right thing and protect as many other people as possible,” Streiff said. “There is the occasional exception to that, but that is the exception, not the rule.”

The percentage of testing results identifying a new positive case rose as well, from a 1.8% average over the past two weeks to 2.9% on Thursday.

Four cases were resolved Friday.

Of the 389 cumulative positive cases the county has seen over the past 10 months, 338 have recovered. Seven people in the county have died due to complications caused by the virus, five of them residents of the Alice Center nursing home in Malone.

Bare Hill prison

The county also reported that 83 inmates are quarantining at Bare Hill Correctional Facility near Malone, with two in isolation awaiting test results. These two have not received positive test result, the county said.

This quarantine data is at odds with data provided by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which states that there are currently two positive cases at Bare Hill and 36 individuals quarantined with zero results pending, according to DOCCS spokesperson Thomas Mailey.

“Any individual that is COVID-19 positive or in quarantine as part of a contact trace is not allowed a visit,” Mailey wrote in an email. “It is critical that both staff and incarcerated individuals continue to follow the protocols in place, which include the mandatory use of masks for all staff, visitors and incarcerated individuals when participating in activities.”

Mailey said DOCCS and the state Department of Health have recently developed an asymptomatic surveillance testing plan to allow a number of incarcerated individuals from each facility to be tested every weekday in order to avert potential outbreaks.

Essex County

Essex County has 27 current cases, with two new ones on Friday. The county has seen 351 total COVID-19 cases cumulatively.

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