Warren County COVID update; county officials say everyone needs to be more vigilant

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WARREN COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As of Thursday, there are 29 active cases in the county, according to the county Health Department. This is the most active cases in the county since early October. The last time the county had active cases topping 30 was May 28. Six new cases were reported Thursday.

Between Monday morning and Wednesday evening, Warren County Health Services was notified of 17 new cases, many of which involved extensive contact tracing.

County Administrator Ryan Moore said Thursday that many of these new cases are a result of people traveling to high-risk areas in either the state or country. He said of the six new cases Thursday, one was exposed in Texas, another in Putnam County, and the remaining four in Rochester. 

Two of Wednesday’s new cases were linked to travel to Capital Region counties with higher COVID numbers. On Tuesday two of those new cases were exposed by a visiting resident of a hot spot county. On Monday the only new positive was infected at a party in another Capital Region county. On Sunday the only new positive was infected in Western N.Y.

Moore said that this is just a look at the five previous days but if you keep going back you will notice a pattern of people traveling and getting infected.

Moore is also calling on the big-box stores to do a ‘better job’ enforcing protocols. He said the state and county have received numerous compliance complaints.

The Sheriff’s Department follows up on complaints, and all of our localities have enforcement mechanisms in place, according to Moore. This may consist of Town Supervisors, code enforcement, police and fire officials visiting businesses to investigate specifics and issue warnings.

Moore said they will investigate any complaint as long as there is enough actionable information. He said some complaints were just too vague and weren’t able to produce any leads. He is encouraging people to provide hard evidence like a picture or sworn testimony.

Enforcement actions include building code violations, revocation of operating permits, court orders, and fines.  The fine for failed mask compliance is $1,000 per incident, and it can be levied against the customer and the business itself, according to Moore.

He went on to say the locally-owned businesses in Warren County have been doing a great job following protocols and have urged the chain stores to follow their lead.

He also spoke on individual responsibilities and how residents need to take precautions if they are feeling ill. He said that several of the cases infected in Rochester went out in public even though they were not feeling well.

He said one of those infected in Rochester decided to go shopping and went to several stores even though they had symptoms of COVID. He also said the spouse of that person is a first responder and decided to go to a prolonged meeting with a half dozen other first responders and did not wear a mask.

Another case from the same exposure allegedly taught an elementary class for three days and had lunch with a coworker on all of those days. Moore says the fourth person has not had any contact with anyone. All of the instances have been reported to the Health Department and contact tracing has been conducted. Anyone who may have been in contact with a positive case has been notified.

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