Essex County asks nursing homes to suspend visitation to curb outbreak

North Country

ESSEX COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Nursing homes throughout the county are being asked to suspend visitation of all kinds, in a request form the Essex County Board of Supervisors following a COVID-19 outbreak now in its second week.

The response has been strong. Essex County Public Health Director Andrea Whitmarsh said in an email Wednesday that some centers had already been restricting or not allowing visitation prior to the outbreak at Essex Center in Elizabethtown.

Nursing homes are being asked to maintain suspension for two weeks to prevent community spread. As of Tuesday night, the confirmed case count in the county stood at 63. 32 of those were center residents, 29 were employees, and at least one was someone in contact with staff.

“We know that this disease is insidious and lethal when it gets into nursing and elder care facilities,” said board chairman Shaun Gillilland in the request to nursing homes. “I realize this is a significant hardship, especially on residents, but we need to take all measures to protect our most vulnerable.”

With the new wave now out in the community, the county said shutting down visitation was a crucial way to mitigate spread; but not the only way. Whitmarsh said they are actively quarantining other close contacts to those confirmed infected, as well as offering testing and re-testing for staff, residents and other contacts.

The request was sent to nursing homes and care facilities in Lake Placid, Elizabethtown, Ticonderoga, Willsboro, Keene and Saranac Lake.

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