3 dozen new COVID cases since Saturday, north country officials worry about more shutdowns

WWNY 3 dozen new COVID cases since Saturday, north country officials worry about more shutdowns

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Within the last 4 days, the tri-county region has added 3 dozen new cases of COVID-19.

Officials say they know people are tired of hearing about the rules and even more tired of abiding by them, but they say people simply have to if they want to avoid shutting down again.

“It’s an unfortunate thing, but we fully expected that there would be a second wave of this pandemic,” said Joe Lightfoot, St. Lawrence County Legislature chairman.

Officials say there’s a lot contributing to the spike.

“People are coming inside, we’ve got schools that are starting back up, colleges, and that has caused an uptick. So we’ll see more of that as we progress in the fall and migrate in the wintertime,” said Scott Gray, Jefferson County Board of Legislators chair.

County officials say most people are following the rules, but there are a few acting carelessly.

“We’ve had a couple issues locally that have had gatherings greater than 50 people and we’ve had positive cases come out of those gatherings,” said Gray.

Some people have been reported trying to go back to work before their recommended quarantine is up.

The disregard for the rules is frustrating for officials.

“This is not something to treat lightly, it can potentially kill you. That we don’t want to see. We’ve already had four deaths in this county and four is too many, we don’t want to see more,” said Lightfoot.

Officials say none of the cases have sprung from a single cluster; they’re all spread across towns within the counties - reaching even the most remote residents.

But the north country isn’t the only area seeing the surge. The whole state has seen an uptick in infections, bringing the positivity rate to 1.3 percent.

To combat any hotspots without disrupting unaffected areas, Governor Cuomo announced a new method called micro-clustering, where only the infected hotspot area will be shut down if need be.

“If we have a micro-cluster that develops in Jefferson County, you will immediately see us take action. We will limit places of worship, limit gathering numbers from 50 to 10, it’ll close schools in the area,” said Gray.

It’s something county leaders hope to avoid altogether.

“We’ve got an obligation, not only to protect others, but ourselves and our families too, so following the rules will go a long way towards seeing that that happen,” said Lightfoot.

Officials want to tell residents to use your common sense. Wear your mask. Stay socially distant. Respect the limit on large gatherings. And get your flu shot to avoid adding another public health hurdle to this already difficult year.

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