Friday evening update: how COVID-19 is affecting the north country

Friday evening update: how COVID-19 is affecting the north country
Coronavirus (Source: MGN Online)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Eight people in Jefferson County have been tested for the coronavirus.

That news was revealed at a news conference Friday at Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown.

Officials also noted that at this point, it appears to be safe for people to do things such as eating out. Unless, of course, they’re sick. Then they should stay home.

Samaritan also announced it was restricting visitors to two per patient and all visitors must be at least 18 years old.

Carthage Hospital and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg announced the same restrictions.

In St. Lawrence County, there are now 9 people in quarantine.

Governor Cuomo announced Friday that New York will be able to perform 6,000 COVID-19 tests per day beginning next week.

He also lifted the requirement for school districts to hold at least 180 days of classroom instruction. (Under the law, a school district’s state aid is directly tied to having at least 180 days of classes.)

School districts are permitted to make their own decisions about closing as a precaution.

The Jefferson County Jail is suspending inmate visits until further notice.

Friday was a better day on Wall Street with the major stock averages gaining 6 percent. However, you most likely know the markets are well off their highs because of fears over the economic effects of the coronavirus.

So with markets down 20 to 25 percent, we asked a local financial advisor what investors should be doing.

The dominoes continue to fall as organizations deal with the impact of the spread of COVID-19.

You can see a list of cancellations and postponements here.

Among them:

The Samaritan Medical Center Auxiliary has postponed its popular One Night, One Diamond fundraiser.

In a statement Friday morning, the auxiliary said the event is postponed “until a time when we can again come together for this important fundraiser dedicated to purchasing the equipment necessary to perform Mohs surgery at Samaritan Medical Center.”

Anyone with tickets can use them when the event is eventually held or they can request a refund by emailing Irene at

The event was scheduled for Saturday, March 28 at the Commons on Fort Drum.

The Tug Hill Commission has cancelled its annual Tug Hill Local Government Conference.

It was scheduled for March 26 at Jefferson Community College.

The commission says it working with the speakers to develop online webinars for the sessions they would have given in person.

People who were registered to go can expect an email with more information next week.

They can also go to

Watertown Sunrise Rotary postponed its annual Taste of the Town, which had been set for April 4. The group wanted to give vendors and attendees plenty of advanced notice.

The Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce announced Friday it has postponed all upcoming events through the month of April.

Not everything has been cancelled, though.

Organizers of the Donegal Beard Contest -- that was going to be held at the now-postponed North Country Goes Green Irish Festival -- have moved the event.

It will now be at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Time Warp Tavern in Watertown.

The bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg is telling some Catholics they don’t have to attend Sunday mass due to the threat of COVID-19.

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