Thursday, 12 March 2020 10:47


SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga County takes preventative measures to tackle growing concerns over COVID-19.

The Saratoga Springs School district prepared a statement Tuesday evening stating any developments with the COVID-19 are being closely monitored. The district is anticipating any needs in the event the novel coronavirus impacts the school. The district also sent a letter to families and staff.

“While the Saratoga Springs City School District does not have any confirmed cases of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, district officials are continuously working on gathering information from local, state and federal officials to monitor this situation,” Michael Patton, superintendent of the school said in the letter.

The school district has also taken precautions to disinfect the building and classrooms on a daily basis, including high use areas such as doorknobs, desks and walls. Surfaces are sprayed with a disinfectant sprayer and sanitizing wipes were distributed to staff.

“If the district becomes aware that one of our students or staff members is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will notify staff and parents/guardians through a SchoolMessenger phone call, email, and text message.  At this time, experts do not recommend that the school district cancel or reschedule classes or other school-related events occurring locally,” Patton said in the letter.

Patton also directed any health-related questions to the school nurse supervisor, or the Saratoga County Public Health.

Skidmore College has suspended classes until March 22. President of the college Philip A. Glotzbach released a letter Monday in response to the two confirmed cases in Saratoga County. 

“In response to this developing situation, the college has activated our Emergency Management Team, and we have augmented it to create a more focused COVID-19 working group that is meeting daily. We are prepared to implement appropriate responses and take proactive steps, based on guidance and recommendations from city, state, and federal officials. Because this virus is spreading rapidly, we know that now is the best time to put policies in place before it reaches our campus,” Glotzbach stated in the letter.

The Saratoga Hospital now encourages patients who believe they are symptomatic or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to call before going to any healthcare locations, according to their website. 

Healthcare professionals will assess symptoms reported and provide additional guidance over the phone. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, you may be directed to a testing site. A healthcare provider or the county health department must order COVID-19 testing. The hospital has also established a COVID-19 response team.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be provided to New York free of charge. According to the NYS webpage, the most high-risk communities will be prioritized with the sanitizer. Cuomo also announced he will be working with the New York State Education Department to issue guidance for schools. Schools will close for an initial 24-hour period if a student or staff member tests positivity for COVID-19.

Cuomo also confirmed 37 additional cases of novel coronavirus bringing the statewide total to 142 confirmed cases, according to the New York State website. Of the confirmed cases, the geographic breakdown is as followes: 

• Westchester: 98 (16 new cases)
• New York City: 19 (7 new cases)
• Nassau: 17 (12 new cases)
• Rockland: 4 (2 new cases)
• Saratoga: 2
• Suffolk: 1
• Ulster: 1

On Tuesday, Cuomo announced a “containment” plan for New Rochelle, the city hosting a growing amount of COVID-19 cases for the New York metro area. The plan involves closing schools and other large gathering facilities for two weeks starting on Thursday. Cuomo said business such as grocery stores will remain open.

According to the CDC, the virus first detected in China causes a disease called COVID-19. The COVID-19 may cause mild to severe respiratory symptoms including cough, fever, trouble breathing and pneumonia. Symptoms may appear in two to 14 days after exposure. There is currently no vaccine to prevent the virus but basic precautionary methods are encouraged to help reduce the spread. Basic preventative measures include:

• Washing hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
• Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick
• Stay home if you are sick
• Clean frequently touched objects or surfaces

According to their website, the CDC does not recommend people who are well to wear a facemask but rather be used by people who show symptoms. The goal is to help prevent the spread of disease.

Although health officials are still studying the disease, they believe it is most likely to be spread from person to person by droplets when coughing. 

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