MALONE –– The number of positive cases of the COVID-19 virus in Franklin County rose by one Tuesday, and county officials are eying a possible crackdown on businesses that are not following required safety practices.

County Manager Donna Kissane had initially reported in her daily briefing email that the number of active cases had remained at three –– where it had plateaued for several days –– but said that half an hour after that email was sent, county health officials were notified that a fourth person had received positive test results.

The county has reported a slow but steady increase in the number of positive cases over the past two weeks. Kissane noted that the rise has come as the county and the entire North Country region have begun reopening their economies, but the increase also comes as the county approaches a total of 10,000 tests administered.

“(W)e are asking that people use all the precautionary measures to minimize the risk and reduce infection. Please practice adequate hand washing, social distance whenever possible and wear masks when you can’t. It is required by an executive order when entering a public place to mask up!” Kissane wrote.

The county has been receiving multiple complaints about businesses that are not requiring employees or customers to practice safety measures, Kissane said. Those complaints are initially being referred to the legislator in whose district the business is located, in the hopes that the business can be convinced to comply with the rules, she said. However, if no resolution is reached, the matter will be turned over to the county attorney for possible enforcement action, she said.

The number of people in isolation or quarantine had risen by one before the announcement of the new active case, to 44, and Kissane said she expects that number to climb even more as contact tracing from the most recent case continues.

The county had administered 9,637 tests as of Tuesday morning.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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