SLC Health Board president: it's not too late to prevent COVID-related business, school closures
BY ANDY GARDNER
North Country This Week
CANTON -- St. Lawrence County's Board of Health president says the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the county threatens the progress with reopening schools and the economy, but it's not too late for the public to embrace preventative measures and reverse course.
Dr. Andrew Williams made the comments during the St. Lawrence County legislature's Operations Committee meeting on Monday, Nov. 9.“We need to take this opportunity to reset, and regain the ground we’ve lost in the last few weeks," he said. “The best way to do this is for the community to fully embrace the five pillars of prevention.”
The "five pillars" he referred to are everyday measures everyone should be taking to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus: wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth while in public, frequent hand washing for 20 seconds or more with soap, social (physical) distancing, staying home when sick and staying local.
“If we do this, I think our community can control the virus,” he said.
Dr. Dana McGuire, St. Lawrence County Public Health director, said the weather turning and people moving activities indoors creates conditions for the coronavirus to run rampant if people aren't careful.
“Moving forward to the Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas holiday … we are going to see just more cases. It’s really important to be thinking about what you’re going to do for the holidays and what kind of modifications can be made," she said.
She also noted that the main transmission pathways are family members who bring it home, and "a lot of parties and gatherings."
"We’re still seeing the effects of the (Halloween) holiday last weekend," she said.
The day after she made that comment, her department sent out a warning that people who were at Softtails Saloon in Massena on Halloween night have a risk of exposure to the coronavirus. That followed Public Health’s report on Monday, Nov. 9 of 40 new COVID-19 cases in the county between Nov. 7 and 9.
Dr. Williams said the next week or two will likely determine if St. Lawrence County is able to slow the spread of COVID-19 going into the winter months.
“I believe we do have the opportunity to turn this around," he said. “This is our opportunity to reset coming into a tough time of the winter and people needing to be indoors ... If we don’t take this opportunity to reset now, it’s going to be a really tough winter that none of us want to face.”
Testing for COVID-19 is done through local hospital systems. People with symptoms or who otherwise feel they should be tested can arrange for testing by calling:
St. Lawrence Health System: 315-261-6240
Claxton Hepburn Medical Center: 315-713-6655
Clifton-Fine Hospital: 315-848-8049
Community Health Center of the North Country (Canton): 315-379-8132