QUEENSBURY — A fifth Warren County resident has died from COVID-19, as the number of cases continues to grow.
This individual was a resident of a nursing home in the southern part of the county. Warren County will not be releasing additional information about this individual. Of the patients who have died, two were at a hospital, two at nursing homes and another at an adult care facility, according to a news release.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the loved ones of all five of our residents who have succumbed to this virus,” the county said in a news release.
A total of 97 Warren County residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which is an increase of 13 from the day before. Six residents are hospitalized. One is in critical condition and five had moderate illness. Four people have recovered, according to a news release.
A total of 140 people have been tested at the joint Glens Falls Hospital and Warren County Health Services COVID-19 site at the Warren County Municipal Center. Five of the positive tests were residents of Warren County and 11 were residents of other counties that have been documented as of Friday. About 18% of people tested were confirmed positive.
Warren and Washington counties have received an additional batch of COVID-19 tests form the state. Washington County donated their kits toward the effort.
“We thank them for their generosity and participation in this important initiative,” said Warren County Administrator Ryan Moore in a news release.
The testing site is in operation Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is open to residents of Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Essex and Hamilton counties. People need to contact a doctor or urgent care center to get a referral.
Moore said at Friday’s Warren County Board of Supervisors meeting the test site started out with a capacity of 48 people — 12 tests per hour for four hours. Now, they can do more if needed.
“We can get it up to 72 from a workforce perspective. That doesn’t always mean the demand is there as providers get used to this,” he said.
Brian LaFlure, director of emergency services for the county, told the Board of Supervisors that the tent is not a long-term solution.
“When we set that tent out there, I believe it was going to be five days. Now, we’re talking about four or five weeks. At some point, we need to have a discussion on that,” he said at Friday’s meeting.
Washington County has eight more cases
Washington County confirmed eight more positive cases of COVID-19 on Saturday for a total of 58. A total of 26 people have recovered.
County Attorney Roger Wickes said the increasing number of cases it is not surprising as more people are being tested.
Wickes said testing is important to get a sense of how widespread the virus is in the county.
“As tests come trickling in, we’re going to try to get them administered, so we can find out what the status is,” he said.
A total of 184 people are under some type of quarantine, either mandatory or precautionary, according to Wickes.
Saratoga and Essex counties
The Saratoga County Department of Public Health Services on Saturday announced that there are six new cases of COVID-19 and two people have died from the virus.
A 61-year-old man from Clifton Park and a 77-year-old man from Mechanicville are the eighth and ninth people to die from the disease, according to a news release.
There are 259 confirmed cases in the county. Eleven people are hospitalized with the virus, which is three fewer than the previous day.
Essex County reported 34 confirmed or suspected cases, which is an increase of two from the previous day.
Nursing homes pose challenges
During his daily briefing on Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday acknowledged the particular challenges in containing the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes, where people are in close contact with one another.
A total of 36 of the 540 people who died on Friday were in nursing homes.
“Nursing homes are these single biggest fear in all of this — vulnerable people in one place. It is a feeding frenzy for this virus — despite everything we can do and best efforts of people working in those nursing homes, who are doing just a fantastic job.”
Cuomo said he does not know how many nursing homes have conducted tests on residents.
“I think more than anything, they’re overwhelmed. They have staff shortages. People on the staff are getting sick. The residents of the nursing home are under enormous pressure. They haven’t seen loved ones,” he said.
Nursing homes are supposed to report deaths to the state. Cuomo said he can understand their frustration.
“Everyone is under emotional distress because you have a lot of people dying,” he said. “Then, the state coming in saying: ‘I want this report by 5 o’clock.’ ‘With all due respect governor, I’m taking care of people’s lives and you’re saying do paperwork,’” he said.
Overall, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 continue to decline statewide to just under 17,000.
“If you look at the past three days, you could argue that we’re past the plateau and starting to descend, which would be very good news,” Cuomo said.
However, Cuomo cautioned against reopening parts of the state too soon. There are 7,090 new cases of COVID-19, which brings the total to 236,732.
“You open one area, but you don’t open another area; and now I can drive to that area and I can go to a restaurant. I can go to a bar. I can do whatever I want in that area. You could now create an unintended consequences where you have a flood of people there,” he said.
In addition, Cuomo called for federal coordination of the supply chain so laboratories have access to the necessary chemicals, known as reagents, that allow the tests to work. Different companies have different chemicals for their tests.
Also, Cuomo signed an executive order allowing people to obtain marriage licenses virtually and allowing clerks to perform weddings through videoconferencing.