By AARON CERBONE
Adirondack Daily Enterprise
TUPPER LAKE — An employee at Mercy Living Center tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday.
But the total number of active cases of the virus in Franklin County remained at four on Monday, County Manager Donna Kissane said.
Matt Scollin, spokesman for Adirondack Health –– which owns and runs the Tupper Lake nursing home –– wrote in a press release that all Mercy Living Center staff have been tested twice per week since May 10, as dictated by a governor’s executive order.
“It was a result from one of these routine tests that came back positive yesterday,” Scollin wrote Monday.
Scollin said Mercy staff acted “immediately” to notify all nursing home staff on duty, all residents and all residents’ families of the test. All residents were again tested for COVID-19.
“(Mercy) conducted targeted contact tracing … to identify any other Mercy Living Center staff who may have interacted with the positive employee outside of the workplace,” Scollin wrote.
He said the positive employee is quarantined at home, under the observation and direction of the Franklin County Public Health Department.
“Adirondack Health appreciates the quick and decisive actions taken by Mercy Living Center staff yesterday to implement the facility’s emergency notification and resident testing plan,” Scollin wrote.
The announcement that the Mercy Living Center employee tested positive comes on the heals of a similar announcement by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Emergency Operations Center that a person in Akwesasne had tested positive for the virus –– the fourth person in the area to do so.
That person was tested by the tribe’s Health Services after coming to Akwesasne from outside a 50-mile radius set by the tribe; the results were received late Thursday. Precautions and contact tracing were immediately initiated by the Health Services and Franklin County Public Health, resulting in an unspecified number of other people being placed in mandatory 14-day quarantine, said Derek Comins, the tribe’s director of emergency management and safety.
The other people who have tested positive in Akwesasne have since had their cases resolved.
The number of active COVID_19 cases in the county –– including Akwesasne –– had fallen to one as recently as Thursday. The Akwesasne case announced Thursday brought the number to two, and two additional cases were reported Saturday. Kissane said she believed one person who had been considered active had had their case resolved over the weekend, keeping the total number of active cases at four.
In total, 19 Franklin County residents have tested positive for the virus, with 95 probable cases of people who have been diagnosed with the disease but not yet been tested or received their test results.
Seventy people are now in quarantine or isolation, up from as few as four just five days ago.
A total of 4,810 tests have been administered in the county.
Although the number of positive tests has shot up since the county, as part of the North Country Region, entered the state’s phase 1 reopening a little over two weeks ago, Kissane said the two situations appear to be unrelated.
“In consultation with the Franklin County Public Health Director, it is not our belief that the increased positive tests is due to the reopening of Phase 1,” Kissane said in her daily briefing email. “It is a result of mandatory testing in various settings. We have not determined where the individuals contracted the infection at this time.”
The staff of The Malone Telegram contributed to this report.
4 Current Active Covid-19
19 tested positive cases -
95 probable positive cases
114 Total Cumulative Positive
5. 70 Quarantine and Isolation
6. 110 Resolved *
7. 4810Total Tests administered
8. 4791 negative tests