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Saratoga County Public Health widens warning symptoms for essential workers

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The hospitalization rate is finally going down in New York state.

As local Public Health officials try to stop the spread of coronavirus, Saratoga County is asking essential workers to do more than monitor their temperature every day.

Public Health officials have seen “a variety” of symptoms among people who test positive.

The key is that fever isn’t the only indicator.

Before work each day, workers who interact with the public should check for:

  • fever
  • loss of the sense of taste and smell
  • dry chronic cough
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • extreme fatigue or severe headache

If they have any of those symptoms, they should stay home and call their doctor, Public Health officials said.

The virus is continuing to spread rapidly in Saratoga County, with 10 more people testing positive, county officials said.

They had to announce another death Sunday: a 67-year-old woman who lived in Malta. She is the 10th death among Saratoga County residents.

The virus is spreading throughout Warren County as well, although that may not have been apparent before community testing began 11 days ago.

When Warren County began testing, there were 35 residents who had already tested positive. In the 11 days since then, 60 have tested positive. Only five were found through the drive-up testing center. There were also a few through Glens Falls Hospital and through Hudson Headwaters Health Network.

But the vast majority of the confirmed cases, roughly 50 positive tests, are at local nursing homes.

Two nursing home residents have died, one at the Glens Falls Center and one at an unidentified nursing home in southern Warren County.

Warren County Public Health has acknowledged that there is a “cluster” of cases at The Pines nursing home, where more than half of the third-floor residents are sick and many of the staff are, too.

Currently, the county and the state Department of Health are not releasing details about the number of nursing home residents who have tested positive. The state is releasing a list of nursing homes where at least five people have died; no local nursing home is on it.

  • Warren County reported three more people tested positive for coronavirus, for a total of 100. Five people are hospitalized, one in critical condition. The others are described as having serious or moderate illness.
  • Washington County reported six more positive cases, for a total of 64.
  • Saratoga County reported 10 more positive cases, for a total of 269 people confirmed to have coronavirus. There are 11 residents hospitalized.
  • Essex County reported two more positive cases, a resident and an inmate. There are now eight inmates in Essex County who have confirmed coronavirus. One of them in hospitalized. Essex County has not revealed where the inmates are located.

While the numbers of confirmed cases are rising, they are not overwhelming the local hospital system.

Overall, the state has passed the peak, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at Sunday’s press conference.

There are now 16,213 hospitalized throughout the state, down from a peak of 18,000 patients.

“If this trend holds, we are past the high point and all indications are we are on a descent. Whether that descent continues depends on what we do,” Cuomo said.

But he noted that 1,300 new patients were hospitalized Saturday. That’s down from a peak of 3,400 new patients a day.

Six days ago, the state was losing 778 people to the virus every day. On Saturday, there were 507 deaths, including 33 residents in nursing homes.

But 1,300 new patients and 507 deaths was by no means a sign that the state could reopen, Cuomo said.

“It’s no time to get cocky,” he said. “We still have a long way to go.”

Upstate New York still represents only about 7% of the total coronavirus cases. But Cuomo is keeping a close eye on nursing homes.

“Nursing homes are still our number-one concern,” he said. “Nursing homes are the optimum feeding ground for this virus. It can just spread like fire through dry grass.”

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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