econzola@mtelegram.com

The first case of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus has been confirmed in Franklin County, the county’s Emergency Operations Center announced Wednesday.

St. Lawrence County officials also reported the first case in their jurisdiction on Wednesday, and the numbers in two other adjoining counties continued to grow.

The Franklin County case is a county resident who has been in quarantine since March 21, the announcement said. The person remains in isolation at home and is receiving follow-up care.

No additional details about the person were released Thursday morning.

The county was notified of the positive test result on Tuesday.

The county Public Health Department is conducting an investigation to determine where the person was exposed to the virus and attempting to trace anyone the person may have had contact with prior to quarantine.

There are currently 60 people in isolation in the county awaiting test results, the announcement noted. Forty-seven tests have so far come back negative.

“It is extremely important that everyone stay home and avoid contact with others. All indicators point to the possibility (of) a sharp increase in positive tests and quarantines,” the announcement said.

“The best way to avoid contracting COVID -19 is to reduce the contact with other people and stay home.”

“We are in a public health emergency due to the spread of the novel coronavisrus (COVID-19),” the announcement said. “Your elected leaders and public health officials are working round the clock to slow the spread of the virus and provide care to those who need it. It is important to remember that we need to be prepared, not scared,” the announcement said.

“We can only encourage people to continue … all of the precautions,” County Manager Donna Kissane said.

County government remains largely shut down, with the county office building largely inaccessible to residents except by appointment and most county workers sent home. Kissane said county officials continue to look at reducing the number of employees in the building even further –– a practice they have been following daily since Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered all nonessential workers to not report for work.

Alice Hyde Medical Center spokesman Phillip Rau said the confirmation of a case in Franklin County will not affect the hospital’s preparations for addressing the pandemic.

In St. Lawrence County, which also was not releasing any identifying information about the person who tested positive, 31 people were in quarantine and being monitored by the county Health Department as of Wednesday; approximately 234 people have been tested, of those, 130 tests have come back negative and 103 are pending.

In Clinton County, the number of confirmed cases jumped to nine, including an inmate at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora. Eighty-one people are in quarantine without symptoms and another 10 are in isolation because they are showing symptons or have had a positive test.

Ninety tests have come back negative.

Only four confirmed cases have been reported in Essex County, a number officials there say is probably artificially low because of limited access to the tests needed to confirm the presence of the virus.

Statewide, more than 25,000 cases have been confirmed, with more than 200 people dead from the infection.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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