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More passengers on two flights from Florida being quarantined

More passengers on two flights from Florida being quarantined

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Working around the clock

Ginelle Jones, director of the Warren County Public Health Services, demonstrated hand-washing two weeks before the first case reached the county. Now she is working around the clock to contain the latest crisis: three residents went on vacation to Florida, flew back while infected with coronavirus, and exposed everyone on two flights.

Six more Warren County residents are in quarantine after being exposed to the three people who went to Florida for vacation and flew back while infected.

The six residents who are now quarantined were also on the flights from Florida.

The vacationers, who live in Warren County, tested positive for coronavirus after arriving back here last Thursday and Friday. But they flew during the contagious period.

They exposed 215 passengers on two Allegiant Air flights. Allegiant Air has released flight passenger information to Warren County Health Services, but it did not have mailing addresses for 43 passengers. The company did have phone numbers and email addresses for each passenger.

“We have a comprehensive plan to ensure that all passengers on these flights will be notified,” Warren County Health Services Director Ginelle Jones said in a news release. “Allegiant Air has been completely cooperative.”

Health Services learned about the positive tests late Wednesday afternoon, quarantined those three residents and interviewed them about their recent activity. By midday Friday, the county had gotten the flight passenger lists, located six Warren County residents who were on the flights and called them to arrange for them to quarantine. They are not sick and have not tested positive at this time.

To track down the other 206 passengers, Health Services put together lists for each county that had residents on one of the flights. Those lists were sent to the county departments of health, some of which were in other states. Only 89 passengers live in New York State, which suggests that many of the passengers are here for vacation or work, making it harder to find them.

A 14-day quarantine is required for all visitors from Florida and 15 other states, but many people seem to be ignoring it. Of the three people who flew in with coronavirus, only one quarantined prior to testing positive.

Health Services emailed a letter to every passenger who lives in another state, telling them to call Public Health and quarantine now, to limit the number of people they expose. For all of the passengers, it’s been at least a week since the flight. They could be experiencing mild symptoms and taking no notice of it, until notified of their exposure by Warren County.

Warren County officials are also trying to track down passengers through hotels and campgrounds. Hoteliers, the Lake George Chamber of Commerce, Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce and Warren County Tourism Department are all working together to get the word out about the flight exposure.

The two flights with passengers who tested positive are:

  • Allegiant Airlines flight No. 1505 on June 25, flying from Punta Gorda, Florida to Albany International Airport;
  • Allegiant Airlines flight No. 754 on June 26, flying from St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida to Albany International Airport.

All passengers from those flights who are staying in Warren County are asked to call Health Services at 518-761-6580.

Of the passengers, 61 were older than the age of 65, which puts them at high risk if they catch coronavirus.

Also on Friday:

  • Warren County reported no new cases, with three people mildly ill and a total of 249 confirmed cases. No one is hospitalized.
  • Washington County no new cases to the state,and the Camara Slate quarry workers were confirmed to be recovered. One person in the county is still ill, for a total of 222 confirmed cases and 208 recoveries. No one is hospitalized.
  • Saratoga County is not reporting cases until Monday. As of Thursday, the county had 559 confirmed cases, with 24 people still ill and one person hospitalized.
  • Essex County is also not reporting cases until Monday. As of Thursday, it had 60 cases in total but only one person still ill. No one was hospitalized.
  • For the entire Capital Region, 29 people tested positive Thursday, a significant increase. Every county except Washington County reported multiple new cases, ranging from two to eight people testing positive.
  • Statewide, 857 people were hospitalized with coronavirus Thursday and nine people died. A total of 918 people in the state tested positive Thursday.

The uptick in new cases “is a reminder that the virus is still here and I cannot repeat enough that our actions today — those of individuals being smart and following all precautions, and local governments enforcing the state’s guidelines — will determine which direction these numbers go,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release. “This holiday weekend please wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, and stay New York smart.”

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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