PLATTSBURGH — A large party of young people in Altona last week appears to be the culprit of new cases as three attendees have since tested positive for COVID-19.

The development has Clinton County officials concerned and irate.

"This is just plain irresponsible behavior, that's all it is," County Legislature Chairman Mark Henry (R-Area 3, Chazy) said.

MEMORY LANE WAY

According to the County Health Department, the party was held the evening of Friday, July 17 on Memory Lane Way in Altona in the northern portion of the county.

Officials did not say when the three individuals were tested or when the results came back.

“Anyone who attended this party has potentially been exposed to COVID-19,” County Director of Public Health John Kanoza said.

"We are urging parents to talk to their children to see if they attended this party, as it is reported that many individuals who attended the party were in their late teens to early 20s.”

Health officials are asking anyone who attended this party to contact the Clinton County Health Department at 518-565-4840. If calling after hours (after 5 p.m. and on weekends), individuals should call 518-565-3270.

Additional information on self-quarantining can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html.

Anyone who attended this party should self-quarantine at home and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, the department said. Those symptoms include fever (100.4 F), cough, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea and/or difficulty breathing.

Anyone developing symptoms should call their health care provider for further guidance.

"Residents must remain vigilant and continue to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19," Kanoza said.

"We have been fortunate to have low numbers of active cases over the past couple of months, but the risk of COVID-19 is not gone."

Residents can protect themselves and others by continuing to practice physical distancing (maintaining six feet of space between themselves and others), wearing face coverings when out in public and frequent hand washing.

WORST THING

Henry said having a bunch of young people attend a party like that and to have an outbreak of COVID-19 is about the worst thing that could have happened.

"This is exactly what we don't want to see," he said.

"These kids just don't get it or they just don't care, and now we are seeing the results."

Henry said there could easily be more than just the three who have tested positive so far.

"This is exasperating to see happen," he said.

"It's been a rough, rocky road to get to where we are, but we have, and our numbers have been low and to have this kind of foolishness set us back is just irresponsible."

FEW CASES

The number of positive cases in the county and throughout the North Country has been low since the pandemic took flight in mid-March, which has helped the region move swiftly through the four phases of the state's reopening plan.

In the county, there had been 125 total lab-confirmed positive cases, and 113 suspected cases as of Friday afternoon. There have been 16,715 tests administered.

Prior to the news of the three party-goers testing positive, there were four active positive cases in the county.

There have been four COVID-19 deaths, but none since late April.

SIMPLE THINGS

Henry said the sacrifices needed to stem the spread of COVID-19 may be an inconvenience, but they are not overbearing.

"What people need to do are really simple things: wear a mask, social distance, not have big gatherings and wash your hands," he said.

"Now these kids could be bringing it home to their parents, their grandparents... what if their parents can't work for two weeks now?"

Henry urged those who attended the party to come forward and contact health officials even if they are scared.

"These kids need to cooperate with this," he said.

"More important than being in trouble is protecting the health of the community. If they want to be treated like adults, then they need to take responsibility."

Email Joe LoTemplio:

jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @jlotemplio

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