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Pharmacist at Queensbury CVS tests positive for coronavirus
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Coronavirus

Pharmacist at Queensbury CVS tests positive for coronavirus

From the Coronavirus collection, March 7-20: Pharmacist at Queensbury CVS tests positive for coronavirus series
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The CVS Pharmacy on Main Street in Queensbury closed for cleaning on Saturday after one of its pharmacists tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement released on Saturday.

The 57-year-old pharmacist who works at the 5 Main St. store is one of two Saratoga County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, according to state health officials.

That brings the total number of cases in New York state to 89. On Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency.

“We are in close contact and coordination with the Warren County Health Department and are following their infectious disease response protocols,” said CVS Pharmacy spokesman Mike DeAngelis in a news release. “The Health Department has informed us that pharmacy patients are considered being at low risk and the prescriptions dispensed from this store do not represent a risk to our customers.”

The pharmacist and his co-workers have been placed under quarantine consistent with CDC guidelines and will be on paid leave, according to DeAngelis. The store is being disinfected and sterilized according to the company’s established protocols and CDC guidelines.

DeAngelis said the store is expected to reopen at 10 a.m. Sunday. The other CVS locations are open during normal hours and CVS also offers prescription home delivery as an option.

The other Saratoga County resident who tested positive is a 52-year-old woman who came in contact with a person from Pennsylvania who tested positive recently after traveling to Miami for a conference.

Catherine Duncan, Saratoga County director of public health services, said both people are displaying minor symptoms and are self-isolating in their residence.

“We are still early in the investigation to determine the breadth of contact that these individuals had with others in the community. Anyone who has a fever, with cough or experiencing shortness of breath should contact their health care provider,” she said in a news release.

The county will be contacting the people and businesses that these two individuals visited and has activated its response plan in place for threat of widespread illnesses, according to Duncan.

“Our team is working hard, in collaboration with the State Department of Health, to contain and mitigate the impact that this will have on public health and to limit the potential of any further spread,” she said in a news release.

DOH spokeswoman Jill Montag said the state is not disclosing their hometown to protect patient privacy.

“The epidemiologists are working with the county health department to do all the tracing that needs to be done,” she said.

On Friday, Saratoga County Public Health reported four travelers were under a 14-day self-quarantine with a total of 16 people quarantined since the outbreak. A dozen of those cases completed the quarantine without developing systems.

For general questions about the COVID-19, call state Department of Health hot line at 1-888-364-3065.

Duncan reminded residents of best practices to reduce the risk of getting sick including washing your hands or using hand sanitizer (when soap and water are not available), covering a cough or sneeze with tissue, and staying home from work or school when ill are simple ways to reduce the spread of germs.

Additional information can be found on Saratoga County Public Health website at https://www.saratogacountyny.gov/departments/publichealth/

In Warren County, five other travelers were being monitored as of Friday. The Warren County health office may be reached at 518-761-6580.

Gov. Cuomo provided updates throughout the day on the number of people who have tested positive for the virus. As of about 6 p.m. Saturday, there are 70 cases in Westchester County, 11 in New York City, four in Nassau County, two in Rockland County and the two from Saratoga County.

“We are working to do more testing as quickly as possible to find the people who are infected and help contain the spread of the virus,” Cuomo said in a news release. “There are going to be more cases because we are testing more people — that’s a good thing because then we can deal with the situation based on more facts. We know about 80 percent of those infected will self-resolve. The best way to calm anxieties is to demonstrate absolute government competence, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

The state of emergency declaration allows, among other things:

  • Expedited procurement of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer and other essential resources;
  • Allowing qualified professionals other than doctors and nurses to conduct testing
  • Expedited procurement of testing supplies and equipment;
  • Expedited personnel onboarding;
  • Expedited leasing of lab space;
  • Allowing EMS personnel to transport patients to quarantine locations other than just hospitals;
  • Providing clear basis for price gouging and enforcement investigation.

“As we continue to provide essential updates and encourage people to act upon the facts on coronavirus instead of the hype, I have officially done a declaration of emergency which gives us certain powers to help local health departments that are very stressed,” Cuomo said.

The governor also addressed price gouging in some areas of the state which has seen a rush on soap and hand sanitizer.

“As the local health departments continue to monitor and quarantine people, we have a more expedited purchasing protocol to get them all the tools they need to contain the virus spread. In the meantime we are cracking down on price gouging which continues to be a problem, and I want businesses to be aware that you could lose your license because we are very serious about this.”

— Post-Star Digital Editor Adam Colver contributed to this report.

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