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Uptick in cases prompts reopening of COVID unit at Samaritan Medical Center

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 5:21 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Samaritan Medical Center is forced to reopen its COVID floor. For a while it had no patients; it wasn’t needed. But there’s a uptick in local cases and an uptick in worry.

We met Dr. Asim Kichloo, a lead doctor on SMC’s COVID floor, last Friday. He says the COVID unit, called 4 Main, had been quiet for weeks. With no patients, it closed down.

But over the weekend, that changed.

“We had 4 admissions in the hospital including 2 in the ICU over the weekend, which does not tell us a good story,” said Dr. Kichloo.

Along with the uptick in hospitalizations, cases are also on the rise - 28 in the last 4 days.

That brings Jefferson County’s positivity rate to 2 percent, the highest it’s been in more than 2 months. More cases, more worry.

“The way it looks like, the way that data supports, my guess would be that this wave, if you want to call it as a peak, might come sooner than 6 to 12 weeks,” said Dr. Kichloo.

County Board of Legislators Chairman Scott Gray says the county is ready for another wave but says getting more people vaccinated can help reduce that risk.

“A year ago we had to be focused on the problem because we had no other choice. It existed. We had to mitigate it the best we could. But now we have a solution to the problem and that’s what I want the public to focus on,” said Gray.

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