Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read said Monday that well under 1 percent of Clinton County residents have been tested for the coronavirus so far because health officials are limited to administering only 12 tests per day.
In a press release, Read said that 266 people in Clinton County have been tested for the virus, or about 0.3 percent. That’s compared to more than 344,00 people statwide, or about 2 percent of New York’s population.
“I spoke for half an hour this morning with a woman in tears because she has a high temperature and her entire family, including her disabled husband, is coughing, and her doctor has ordered she be tested,” he said.
But because the county has to ration tests, the woman and her family did not meet the criteria, he said.
“That is heartbreaking, and hard to understand,” he said. ” We need more tests so we can really understand the degree to which this virus is penetrating our community.”
Read said that, as of Monday, Clinton County has 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19, or about 14 percent of tests administered. That’s well below the statewide average of almost 41 percent, according to the New York State Department of Health’s COVID-19 tracker. (Some areas of New York City have positive rates of well over 50 percent).
On Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the death toll from the coronaviorus jumped by 731 to 5,489, the “largest single day increase.” In New York City, more people have now died from the coronavirus — 3,202 people — than died in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Read said Clinton County health officials are also investigating an additional 31 suspected cases of COVID-19.
“My job is to protect you, and I will do everything I can to do that,” he said. “I just ask you, even plead with you to practice extreme social distancing, and please do your part in taking care of yourselves, your family and loved ones, and the most vulnerable in our community.”