Local officials watch with concern as COVID cases rise

Updated: Nov. 3, 2020 at 4:45 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The north country is seeing some of the highest infection rates since the pandemic started. The Lewis County breakout began with a baptism at a church in the town of New Bremen.

Jefferson County officials say it’s hard to link Jefferson County’s spike to that event, but everything is a contributor.

“Any time that you introduce that type of potential for the infection to spread, it is going to have a residual effect. Unfortunately, in this case it’s going to be the gift that keeps on giving,” said Scott Gray, chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators.

St. Lawrence County is feeling those effects. At the county’s Board of Legislators meeting on Monday night, Dr. Andrew Williams said the county’s weekly COVID infection rate is sharply on the rise with a potential average of 42 cases per week.

Dr. Williams also said there is an increase in people getting the virus from a family member. This has St. Lawrence County officials worried with the holidays coming up.

“We’ll have more of the gatherings, we’ll be indoors, where that’s where you’re more likely to be exposed,” said Dana McGuire, St. Lawrence County Public Health director.

One SUNY Potsdam professor tells us that “COVID fatigue” could be a factor in the spike.

“I think there were a lot of people thinking that maybe the worst is over and it’s just going to be maintenance from here on out,” said Donald Straight, professor, SUNY Potsdam.

For Jefferson County specifically, Gray is not too worried about the numbers yet, but he thinks the cases will continue to rise during flu season.

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