PLATTSBURGH, NY- Clinton County says it has 11 cases of COVID-19, including one inmate at Clinton Correctional Facility.
But North Country health officials acknowledged this week that the number of people in the region who have contracted the virus is probably much higher, due to a shortage of tests. In Clinton County, more than 80 people who do not have symptoms are self-quarantining.
Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read about 40 percent of the confirmed cases are people age 60 and older, a population that is particularly vulnerable to the virus. On Thursday, Read tried to calm the fears of county residents, saying he is hopeful they will come together.
“I don’t want people be scared,” he said. “I want people to be charged up and understanding that we are going to have to work hard to solve this together.”
Read urged residents to follow New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order to stay at home and for all employees of non-essential businesses to work remotely. He encouraged residents to shop less frequently and at off-hours to prevent the spread of the virus.
While New York City is the epicenter of the virus, demadning the lion’s share of state resources, Read said he anticipates the North Country will get some assistance eventually. “A lot of the resources are going there and as their needs are met hopefully more resources like for masks and testing will come up here.”
In the meantime, he said the city is preparing to handle a surge in cases by expanding the number of available hospital beds by as much 100 percent. UVM Health Network-CVPH “feels that they can meet that upper target and they’re working hard. The city has offered overflow space if need be.”
Read also discusses the economy and how the outbreak is effecting the lake city’s bottom line.
“Our expenses are skyrocketing especially the dimension of health care, and our revenues tend to be plunging with reduced sales tax and decreased electricity bills being paid,” said Read.
New Yrok Rep. Elise Stefanik said federal resources, including loans, are needed to support workers and small businesses. “This would make a large portion of the loans forgivable including payroll, rent mortgage, and utility over the next few months,” she said.