Virus touches Saranac Lake village staff
Village offices, DPW have one positive test each
SARANAC LAKE — Employees at the Saranac Lake village offices and Department of Public Works are quarantining — or quarantining at work — and getting COVID-19 tests after one employee in each workplace tested positive for the coronavirus this week.
Village Manager John Sweeney said the village is taking precautionary steps and that he hopes to keep the virus from spreading so the village can keep functioning as normal.
He said his fear is that if the virus spreads through Saranac Lake as a whole, the daily functions of the village would stop. He wants to stop that from happening.
Sweeney said he believes it was inevitable that someone in the village’s employ would test positive.
“I’m not ashamed of where we are. It’s a reality,” Sweeney said. “Truthfully, I think I’m shocked it didn’t happen earlier. … I don’t think nonexistence is a reality here. It think it’s just, we got to keep it low.”
Sweeney said an employee at the village office received a positive test on Nov. 28 and that one other employee has been quarantined for being a “proximity contact” with the positive person.
The village offices, on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall at 39 Main St., have been closed to all but staff since March, Sweeney said. He said that the Monday through Wednesday before Thanksgiving is when the potential exposure occurred.
Sweeney said all village office staff have been tested, and with 50% of the results back, all have returned negative.
He said five employees are working from home, and the rest who are still in the office are “working behind closed doors.” Masks and social distancing are being adhered to in the office, he said.
The employee who tested positive is not experiencing symptoms, Sweeney said. The village did not identify the employee, and the Enterprise generally does not identify people who test positive unless they agree to be identified.
Sweeney also said a DPW employee tested positive Wednesday afternoon. Employees of this department have been working in shifts, he said, separated by time and space.
“Potentially, some of the members of that shift have been exposed. … They were working 3 to 11 (p.m.) and noon to 8 p.m.” Sweeney said. “They have all gotten their tests in the last hour.”
He said DPW employees are under “working quarantine” and will still work if they don’t have symptoms. He said the DPW office is sanitized daily and that employees are asked to use hand sanitizer and wear masks if within 6 feet of each other, including in vehicles.
“Well, that’s what they’re directed to do,” Sweeney said. “You can’t get them all the time.”