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COVID-19

Regents exams in January canceled; Two pubs close in Lake Placid after cases

From the Coronavirus collection: Read the latest updates series

The latest victim of coronavirus is the January Regents exams.

On Thursday, interim state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa announced that the exams are canceled. Last school year’s June and August Regents exams were also canceled.

No decisions have been made regarding the June and August 2021 Regents or any of the other state assessment programs, including the tests for grades 3-8, according to a news release.

The January exams are typically another opportunity for students to retake a test they failed and need to pass for graduation.

The state Education Department is asking the Board of Regents to adopt emergency regulations that would allow students to be exempt from taking the exam if they pass the course and meet all other requirements.

“Throughout the pandemic our priority has been the health and well-being of our students and educators,” Rosa said in a news release. “We determined the January Regents exams could not be safely, equitably and fairly administered across the state given where the pandemic currently stands. We will continue to monitor applicable data and make a decision on other state assessment programs as the school year progresses, being mindful of the evolving situation.”

Businesses close

Also on Thursday, Lake Placid Pub & Brewery and Big Slide Brewery & Public House closed for two weeks after two employees tested positive for coronavirus.

Each case led to several staff members being quarantined.

The first person to test positive had been quarantined because of contact with a person who had the virus, unrelated to the breweries. The person developed symptoms and got tested. Although the person had maintained quarantine, the person had contact with staff during a window of time before quarantine began but after the person could have become contagious.

The second employee tested positive Thursday. That person was already quarantined after having contact with the first employee.

“While only two of our almost 100 employees have tested positive, we have decided to take the precautionary step of closing our doors temporarily in order to break any links in the COVID chain,” said co-owner Christopher Ericson in a statement. “During these unsettling times, our top priority continues to be the safety of our staff and our customers.”

Thursday’s statistics:

  • Vermont’s travel advisory applies to all four of the following counties. Any residents who want to travel to Vermont must quarantine for 14 days first, and Vermonters must quarantine for 14 days after visiting the region.
  • Warren County reported three new cases, for a total of 412 confirmed cases since March, and three recoveries, for 363 recoveries. Of the three new cases, one resident caught the virus at a Halloween party in Albany that has been the source of other infections. The second resident caught the virus from a household member who had the virus. That person caught the virus during an out-of-state trip after eating a meal at a restaurant where other infections have been documented. The third resident works at a health care facility out of the county and was tested routinely through work. Investigators haven’t determined where that person caught the virus. There are 14 people currently ill, and none are hospitalized.
  • In addition to those three cases, Warren County is monitoring quarantines for two people who went downstate to a COVID hot spot for a Halloween party. They were exposed to people who had the virus.
  • Washington County reported one new case, a person who caught the virus from another person who had the virus, for a total of 347 confirmed cases since March. Two people recovered, for a total of 309 recoveries. One additional person was hospitalized, for a total of two people currently hospitalized. There are 25 people currently ill, including the two people who are hospitalized.
  • Saratoga County reported 25 new cases, for a total of 1,450 confirmed cases, and 27 people recovered, for a total of 1,295 recoveries. A total of 136 people are currently sick, and six people are hospitalized, down from nine Wednesday.
  • In the northern Saratoga County towns, new cases include one town of Saratoga resident (for a total of three), and one Wilton resident (for a total of eight). Still sick: one village of Corinth resident, one Northumberland resident, two town of Saratoga residents, three Schuylerville residents and seven Wilton residents. Recovered: one Northumberland resident.
  • Essex County reported three new cases. There are 10 people currently ill, and none are hospitalized.
  • Saratoga Hospital reported no coronavirus patients. Glens Falls Hospital has one coronavirus patient.

For Wednesday, the most recent day for which data was available:

  • The Capital Region reported a total of 108 new cases, a positive test rate of 1.3%. The goal to controlling the virus is keeping the positive test rate below 1%. Five of the eight counties in the region were above 1%.
  • They were: Columbia County at 2.8% with 11 new cases; Rensselaer County at 2.2% and 19 new cases; Saratoga County at 1.8%; Albany County at 1.1% with 32 new cases; and Schenectady County at 1.1% with 16 new cases.
  • Warren County was at 0.7% and Washington County was at 0.6% for Wednesday’s new cases.
  • Statewide, 2,997 people tested positive, an overall positive test rate of 1.86%. The hot spots had a positive test rate of 3.04% and the state without the hot spots had a positive test rate of 1.7%.

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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Washington County may not be getting off the Vermont quarantine any time soon, after a surge in cases at Washington Correctional Facility and hundreds of prisoners at Great Meadow awaiting test results after showing symptoms.

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