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Franklin County COVID numbers highest ever

Significant increase in Tupper Lake, officials says

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

Franklin County on Sunday saw the highest number of COVID-19 cases it has ever experienced in a single day, and public health officials say most of these come after social gatherings.

On Sunday morning the county reported 84 active positive cases. On Saturday it had matched its previous high number, 72.

This weekend has brought high numbers of new cases each day: 15 on Friday, nine on Saturday, 14 on Sunday.

Franklin County Public Health Program Improvement Specialist Erin Streiff said cases are mostly found in population centers, in both the north and south ends of the county. She specifically mentioned Tupper Lake seeing a large increase. Tupper Lake is county’s third largest population center, after Malone and Saranac Lake.

Streiff said the data shows a trend of individuals testing positive after attending social gatherings, even though there is not always a positive case associated with people at that gathering.

“We’re observing people becoming ill after gathering, but again, they are not always tied to a positive confirmed case we know is at that gathering,” Streiff said. “We’re observing patterns of positive cases having been at a gathering.”

She said three cases this weekend occurred after a person attended a Thanksgiving gathering but did not have a confirmed positive case tied to the gathering. More, she said, are tied to gatherings not associated with the holiday.

“We are deducing that Thanksgiving gatherings had an effect,” Streiff said. “But without the confirmed positive case first at the gathering it can be difficult to verify that. … The holiday was definitely a factor for some of the cases, so it did have an impact on the overall case number.”

Four cases on Friday were linked to one specific Thanksgiving gathering, she said.

Streiff said most cases are people associated with individuals already testing positive.

Adirondack Health spokesman Matt Scollin said there were three COVID-19-positive patients Sunday at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. Two of them were in the intensive care unit, but none was on a ventilator, he said.

“It’s more than we had, say, two days ago,” Scollin said. “But it’s not much more than (usual). I don’t want to downplay it or up-play it, but it’s in line with what we’ve been seeing the last week to 10 days.”

Five cases were resolved on Saturday and two on Sunday, according to the county.

Of the 436 cases discovered in Franklin County thus far, cumulatively, 345 have recovered. Seven people have died from complications from the virus in Franklin County, all within the last month and five at the Alice Center nursing home in Malone.

The percent of tests returning a positive result also spiked, reaching 4% on Friday and Saturday. This has impacted the county’s seven-day average of tests resulting in positive identification, raising it from 1.8% before the weekend to 2.6% as of Saturday.

This percentage, plus the number of new cases per day, are what the state uses to determine if a ZIP code will enter a yellow, orange or red zone, which requires tighter restrictions.

Franklin County also reported that 83 inmates are quarantining at Bare Hill Correctional Facility near Malone, with two in isolation, meaning that they have tested positive. 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.

Neighboring Essex County does not give daily COVID-19 reports on Saturdays and Sundays.

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