St. Lawrence County joins fight against novel coronavirus

Updated: Feb. 25, 2020 at 4:47 PM EST
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ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Two people quarantined by public health. Local rescue services will do border screenings. St. Lawrence County joins the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue and Massena's Seaway Valley Ambulance will do coronavirus screenings at the border.

“If they have any concerns that it could possibly be a coronavirus infection, we'll go down and treat them according to the CDC regulations,” said Ken Gardner, Ogdensburg Volunteer Rescue Squad chief.

If the person has come from China and has a temperature or respiratory issues, they would be taken to the hospital – and could be quarantined.

“We'll make sure our people are fully covered and protected and we'll make sure that person gets isolated immediately,” said Gardner.

The border screenings are part of a bigger effort. Anyone returning to the U.S. from China without symptoms is being quarantined at home. It's already reality for two people in St. Lawrence County.

“It wasn't a surprise to them when we had to contact them. Most people who were in China were aware of what was going on in China too. So I think everyone hopes that they can try to contain it and not spread it. So people have been very cooperative,” said Dana McGuire, St. Lawrence County Public Health director.

The county legislature has also given public health the go-ahead to search out hotels or other space that could be used for quarantine if necessary.

In St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties we're not just like everyone else when it comes to the coronavirus. For one thing, we're right on the border. And another, there are major international airports nearby in Canada.

Public health will pay the rescue services $100 per border call. First responders say they’ve been through this drill before, with Ebola in 2014 and the SARS epidemic in 2003.

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