St. Lawrence County feels the impact of record-high numbers of COVID-19 cases

WWNY St. Lawrence County feels the impact of record-high numbers of COVID-19 cases

CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - More than 1,000 people are in quarantine in St. Lawrence County, and there have been more than 100 new COVID-19 cases per week. That’s a strain on workplaces and resources.

The doors are locked at the county’s social services building, the county clerk’s office is largely empty, and St. Lawrence University has switched to remote learning.

“We’ve got upwards of a thousand people quarantined. Just the numbers, it’s a daunting task to try and do what is required,” said St. Lawrence County Legislature Chairman, Joe Lightfoot.

New COVID-19 cases in the last week have surged well above 100. In the Spring, cases per week never reached 50.

On Thursday alone, the county reported 25 new cases.

“We’re setting new records, in a bad way, in regards to any interval we look at. Weekly, monthly,” said SUNY Potsdam Education Instructor, Donald Straight.

All of the cases are burdening Public Health’s contact tracing efforts. The county has begun pulling people from other departments to work on contact tracing.

“These people are working their tails off. It’s tiring,” said Lightfoot. “It’s not ending at four o’clock in the afternoon. It’s going until eight, nine, ten o’clock at night.”

A lot of what contact tracing is, is math. One person with COVID-19 can have contact with as many as a hundred others. That means as cases surge, the job of contact tracing can grow exponentially.

The Department of Social Services is undergoing a deep cleaning after an exposure.

Both the County Court Clerk’s office and courtroom were cleaned after an early November exposure.

“The enormity of it is a difficult thing to deal with. Now, we’re doing the best we can with what we have,” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot and St. Lawrence County Public Health said the tide can be stemmed if everyone follows the rules to wash their hands, wear a mask, social distance, stay local, and stay home if you’re sick.

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