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At least 10 residents of the Essex Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing have tested positive for the coronavirus since late afternoon on Friday, Oct. 15. Three were hospitalized as of Thursday.

ELIZABETHTOWN — A cluster of COVID-19 cases has emerged at a long-term care facility that was the site of a deadly outbreak last year.

At least 10 residents of the Essex Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing have tested positive for the coronavirus since late afternoon on Friday, Oct. 15. Three were hospitalized as of Thursday.

ECHD said 11 residents had tested positive; Jeff Jacomowitz — spokesperson for Centers Health Care, which owns the Elizabethtown facility — said testing had revealed 10 active cases among that population.

“As per the New York State Department of Health and the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Essex Center in Elizabethtown has been strict and diligent with weekly testing due to COVID-19 and the delta variant strain," he said in a statement.

Jacomowitz said the positive residents have been quarantined in a separate wing of the Essex Center and are being cared for by dedicated staff who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

"When they recover, as per the (state) Department of Health and the CDC, they will be allowed to return to their rooms.”

POSSIBLE HOSPITAL EXPOSURE

Between August and October 2020, more than 100 COVID cases among Essex Center residents, staff and contacts of staff — including the COVID-related deaths of 16 residents — occurred.

Jacomowitz said Essex Center was notified last week that a resident sent to the emergency room at University of Vermont Health Network, Elizabethtown Community Hospital had tested positive.

"Our first full round of testing revealed that NO staff were positive," he added. "Contact tracing revealed that a positive resident was recently hospitalized and possibly exposed. We have conducted three rounds of in-house

(resident and staff) testing.”

According to ECHD's report, three Essex Center staff members had tested positive as of Thursday.

MORE THAN 220 NEW CASES

Since Monday, the tri-county area has seen more than 220 new cases and two additional COVID-related deaths reported, bringing the local death total to 94. Both of these individuals were Clinton County residents who died at University of Vermont Health Network, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh.

Clinton County Health Department Principal Public Health Educator Molly Flynn said it appears one of the individuals passed away over the weekend, while the second died Tuesday.

CCHD reported 73 new cases over the three-day period. As of Thursday, there were 173 residents in isolation and 308 in precautionary quarantine.

ECHD announced 68 new cases and an active total of 127.

Franklin County Public Health saw 83 additional cases since Monday; of the 443 total individuals under its supervision in either isolation or quarantine, 180 had tested positive. Among those, 18 were inmates: 17 at Bare Hill Correctional Facility and one at Franklin Correctional Facility.

The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Health Services reported four new cases in Akwesasne’s southern portion. An additional 12 people were in quarantine and one was hospitalized due to COVID complications.

HIGHEST REGIONAL POSITIVITY

According to state-posted figures up-to-date as of Wednesday, the seven-county North Country region had the highest positivity rate of all the state's regions both that day and over a seven-day rolling average at 5.1% and 5.8%, respectively.

The area also had the highest number of new cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling average, at 47.3. By comparison, the statewide average was 21.9.

As of Tuesday, the North Country had 88 hospitalized COVID patients, 23 of whom were in the intensive care unit.

CVPH Sr. Marketing and Communications Specialist Chris Blake said the Plattsburgh hospital had nine COVID patients Thursday, two of whom were in the ICU.

GET TESTED, VACCINATED

Testing is available throughout the tri-county area.

Go to tinyurl.com/uaa2tmcc to find a testing site near you anywhere in New York State.

All residents age 12 or older are currently eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Information on where to get vaccinated is available at vaccines.gov and listed on page A8.

Email Cara Chapman:

cchapman@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @PPR_carachapman

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