Public Health Director Update: The CDC and Hamilton County Public Health Recommend Wearing A Protective Cloth Face Covering When in Public Posted 4.5.2020
Social distancing has been an excellent public health intervention for slowing the spread of COVID-19 to residents in Hamilton County. However, there are times where it is necessary to travel outside of your home, such as going to the pharmacy, grocery store or post office. On these occasions, the CDC and Hamilton County Public Health are recommending that you wear a cloth face covering to protect yourself and others.
Over the last month we have had a chance to observe areas with high concentration of COVID-19 respond to the virus being present in their community. We know that COVID-19 is present in Hamilton County, we have expected this all along, and now our job is to prevent it from multiplying, keeping our numbers and rate of transmission low. Wearing a cloth face covering when in public is another prevention strategy that we can easily implement to maintain the health and safety of our community.
New Guidance From CDC
“CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC also advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.”
An individual with COVID-19 may only display mild symptoms, and can be asymptomatic for 1-14 days. Wearing a cloth mask does not necessarily protect you from contracting the virus, but rather acts as a protective barrier from you infecting others. Vulnerable individuals, such as those with complex medical comorbidities, immunocompromised are strongly encouraged to continue to self-isolate and stay home during this pandemic.
Medical grade protective equipment, such as surgical masks and N95’s, should not be worn by the public. These supplies should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders, as they are already in short supply, and are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19.
Cloth face coverings should:
• Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
• Cover the mouth and nose
• Be secured with ties or ear loops
• Include multiple layers of fabric
• Allow for breathing without restriction
• Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape
“Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.”
If the face cloth becomes moist or soiled, it is more likely to hold bacteria and viruses, so it is important to keep it clean and dry. Be careful when removing the cloth face covering to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and wash your hands after.
Remember, with COVID-19 and individual can be infectious for 4 to 5 days, without showing symptoms. In addition to social distancing and handwashing, this is one additional strategy where Hamilton County residents can work together to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
Director of Public Health
To the residents of Long Lake and Raquette Lake:
To sum up the last couple weeks in a few words; stressful, daunting, unique, busy, and difficult. However here in Long Lake we have approached these situations head on. I have been involved in multiple daily phone meetings with the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, Erica Mahoney- Director of Hamilton County Public Health, and other neighboring Town Supervisors, to get the latest news and advice on the Coronavirus. We have been working closely with Dr.Rider to determine what steps our community can take to stay safe and healthy. I have also worked very closely with Noelle Short to find safe solutions for Long Lake School, students, and employees. She in return has helped us in the same respect.
I have recently spoken to Stephanie Howe of the Long Lake Rescue Squad and Tony Clark of the Long Lake Fire Department who have both stated they are up to date with current Health Department protocols and are getting updates daily.
Town of Long Lake staff are avidly researching and brainstorming the next obstacles we may face, while reaching out to townspeople to see what needs can be met. I am confident that we have a firm grasp on what’s happening and even more confident we’ll get through this with our heads held high.
I understand the hardships we are all going through. Local business’s forcing to close, some being laid off from work, having to isolate from others, not being able to socialize, attend church, birthday parties, you name it. We’ll get through this because we are The Town of Long Lake, and we are strong, smart, hardworking, caring, compassionate, problem solvers, and as some people say, stubborn.
We need to stay strong as a community and support each other in these difficult times. Keeping our distance from others and remaining in social isolation is not easy, but it will ensure our community does all it can to stay safe and healthy.
Please continue to be responsible, caring, and considerate of yourselves and others around you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me anytime by phone or email.
Clay J Arsenault
Long Lake Town Supervisor
Hamilton County Public Health Nursing Services
Director of Public Health: Erica Mahoney 518-648-6497
Link to Hamilton County Public Health & Nursing on Facebook
Public Health Director Update:
Community Transmission Stops With You!
March 27, 2020
The circumstances around the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to change on a daily basis, with the greatest change being around testing. Previously individuals could report to their primary care doctor, and if symptomology suggested COVID-19 as a likely diagnosis, they could be sent to a drive through COVID-19 outpatient testing location. Swabbing would be done, and sent to the lab to determine COVID-19. This individual would be monitored for 14 days by Hamilton County Public Health Department.
Currently, there are no outpatient testing centers available to Hamilton County residents. These individuals are now being sent home from their primary care doctor under precautionary quarantine without confirmed laboratory testing. Hamilton County Public Health does not have testing kits. Testing is being done in the hospital settings for healthcare workers and hospitalized patients only at this time.
Our greatest risk in Hamilton County at this point is community transmission, where one individual comes in contact with someone who is carrying the virus, and then carries the virus to others, including family members.
What does this mean?
NYS and CDC data charts report confirmed cases only. Without testing being done, it will continue to show limited confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton County, making it appear that COVID-19 is not in Hamilton County.
We should conduct ourselves with the assumption that the Coronavirus is in Hamilton County, and anyone you come in contact with may be carrying the disease. Because the symptoms vary from individual to individual, what may present like a common cold/cough could in fact be the Coronavirus.
Highest Risk Individuals
Right now, the highest risk individuals are elderly with comorbidities, healthcare workers and those working in occupations that are considered “essential.” Be careful, use personal protective equipment (PPE) cautiously, wash your hands frequently and maintain 6 feet distancing precautions.
What can you do?
• Practice social distancing, maintain 6’ distancing when in public.
• Wash your hands frequently.
• Avoid gatherings.
• Stay home if you are sick.
• When going to pick up groceries/necessities, go alone. Do not bring your children into the store.
• Screen and limit visitors to your house.
We all must work together to prevent community transmission in Hamilton County!
Director of Public Health
Public Health Director:
New York State on Pause: Please Stay Where You Are
March 25, 2020
As of March 22, 2020, New York State is practicing the “pause” on most public, personal, and commercial activities in attempt to slow the transmission of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). All non-essential businesses are now closed and residents are asked to remain in their home, with the exception of emergencies, seeking medical care, solitary local exercise, and shopping for food and other necessities. Travel within the United States is not recommended, especially for vulnerable populations, who are more likely to contract the virus. Just to be clear, even if you conclude you are not vulnerable, you are wrong, plus we all have a responsibility for protecting others.
Hamilton County is the least populated county in New York State, with approximately 4,500-year-round residents, most of which are over the age of 65 years. We are experiencing a large influx of travelers into the county to occupy second homes and short-term rentals. Our current healthcare infrastructure is able to care for year-round residents, but we are not equipped for this influx, nor will State resources be available to come north for quite some time.
Escaping to the Adirondacks may seem like an attractive and safe solution to decrease your risk of exposure to COVID-19, however there are several things to consider in terms of health, safety, and your wellbeing. While you may be looking for a way to isolate your family, you also will be isolating them from healthcare and supplies. Most small businesses in Hamilton County are closed, and while our convenience stores are still open to the public, there is a limited supply of food and other necessities.
Hamilton County Public Health and our primary care providers do not have testing kits. We do not have a hospital within the county or a hospital within reasonable travel distance for COVID-19 testing. If you or your family member becomes sick, there will be a delay in healthcare delivery and follow up services.
Hotels are considered essential services and are regulated by NYSDOH for cleanliness and safety. Airbnb, Vacation Rental by Owner, and other rental sites are not regulated by NYSDOH. If you are renting out your home through one of these organizations, the risk and responsibility for cleanliness falls on you. We politely request that you remove your short-term rentals from these websites, and refrain from renting during this pandemic. Please understand this is for your protection, plus the protection of anyone who might be entertaining the idea of staying in your rental. Your long term success will be far greater, if the news stories don’t start to revolve around those sickened or trapped without health care in a short term rental unit.
We truly appreciate all you do to stimulate our small communities and economy, and hope that you will take this information into consideration before coming to the Adirondacks during this public health pandemic. Lastly, if for some reason your personal situation absolutely requires you to come here, we ask that you consider the CDC recommendation of self-isolating for 14 days once you arrive. Your health and the health of others depend upon it.
Please contact Hamilton County Public Health at (518) 648-6141 with any questions.
Update from Dr. Rider: 3/20/20
As of press time today, we are seeing increased numbers of Covid-19 infections across the state and in response, the Governor has increased the number of workplace reductions and restrictions. These announcements can provoke anxiety and fear about the virus. Keep in mind the following:
· Many people may acquire the Covid-19 virus, but most of those infections will be unnoticed or mild and the biggest threat that the infection holds is the threat to society by exposing the elderly or medically compromised. Therefore, isolation is the most important action you can take to prevent the spread of the infection.
· Some people are getting caught up in the numbers of confirmed cases in each county….do not get a false sense of security that your county may only have a few or no confirmed cases…..presume the virus is here (because it most assuredly is)…isolate, wash your hands, and when out getting necessities, stay 6 feet away from others (especially the elderly).
· As of today,…. we have no reliable treatment for Covid-19, so even if you test positive for the virus there is nothing to offer you for the treatment of mild cases. You should treat it like you would a cold…. stay in your home, isolate, monitor your temperature, wash your hands and seek medical treatment if symptoms worsen or you develop difficulty breathing.
· Getting tested for a mild case is not necessary and as you may have seen, many places have limited testing to only those who are very sick or healthcare workers so they can return to work if negative.
· In response to the Governor’s directive, many municipalities and counties are reducing staff, limiting access to buildings, and restricting visitors. At my office we are limiting visits to “necessity only” and routine visits will be cancelled and re-scheduled later or conducted by telephone. This is not only to protect you…but to protect me, my staff, and other patients from unnecessary exposure.
· Please note that many offices, as well as my own, will have locked entrance doors and are asking people to call staff in advance so we can provide directions for entering the building. We are taking the isolation/exposure issue very seriously and hope you are too!
We all need to take a deep breath, slow down and not panic over all the information and news we are getting thrown at us daily….our County and State Departments of Health are doing a great job in keeping us up to date on the latest information as they receive it, and ensuring our residents are getting the care they need.
We will get through this together. Well, actually…6 feet apart!
Russell E. Rider MD and Staff
March 16, 2020
To all the Citizens of the Town of Long Lake:
We as your elected officials, are working to deal with the potential/pending pandemic outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in our community. This virus needs to be viewed as very dangerous to our residents should they come in contact with this virus, or with others that may be infected or exposed. We are putting plans in effect that will help delay or deflect an outbreak of this virus.
We are working with several agencies to gain the proper information and advice regarding this virus. These agencies include the Federal Center for Disease Control, the New York State Health Department, the Hamilton County Public Health Department, and local medical personnel.
Through written material and advice provided by the above agencies we have learned the following. Our goal is to mitigate against the spread of the virus and to reduce its rate of transmission. Working towards this goal, we will take these actions and make these recommendations.
In order to work towards our goal of mitigating and controlling the spread and transmission of the virus, the number one action that can be taken is proper hand sanitizing. For this action the best method is washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 to 30 seconds. This should be done frequently and especially after handling items that are in public. The bottled “hand sanitizers” are the second-best method and should be used when soap and water are not available. The directions on the bottles should be followed.
The symptoms of this virus can begin with the following. A person may feel they have a fever. This may be accompanied with chills. There also may be coughing or respiratory problems. If you encounter any of these symptoms you should stay home and contact your primary physician for further instructions.
If you are going out in the public the following should be done. You should stay away from areas with large crowds or crowded areas. The Governor has issued orders regarding limits on the number of people at an event. The maximum number of people that can be at an event is 500, With an allowed occupant limit in areas that are normally less than 500 being reduced to 50% of the posted limit. In addition, on Sunday, March 15th the CDC recommends that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the U.S. More Information on Mass Gatherings.
At any rate people should allow at least 6 feet between themselves and others. This is necessary as this virus is generally spread by person to person contact such as coughing or sneezing. If you cough or sneeze you should do so into a Kleenex. If a Kleenex is not available, you should use the inside of your elbow but not your hands. Any Kleenex used should be discarded into a trash/garbage receptacle and not left lying around.
If we as a community work together we can limit or slow down the spread of this virus and withstand the negative effects of this outbreak. One of the best ways is to work together with our fellow community members to assure that every citizen is afforded the best information we have available. We are in constant contact with the Hamilton County Public Health Service. We stand willing to see that any questions you have regarding this virus or methods to control it are answered in a timely manner.
For those wishing to read and research the latest information we are listing the following web sites/phone numbers for your use. Center for Disease Control www.CDC.Gov, NYS Health Dept. www.Health.ny.gov or by calling the NYS Health Hot Line at (888) 364-3065, or by calling the Hamilton County Public Health Office at (518) 648-6497 or Hamilton County Office Emergency Management (518) 548-6223.
To repeat from above we will get through this pandemic if we follow our recommendations. If we work together, we can protect ourselves, our neighbors, and maintain the safest community possible.
Supervisor Clay J. Arsenault
(518) 832-0164 (cell) (518) 624-3001 ex 111 (office)
From the Long Lake Medical Staff:
To patients of Dr. Rider…. 3/16/20
With the recent Covid-19 issues our office will be conducting business a little different than usual- and these procedures are ever changing based on the latest updates from the CDC and the Department of Health.
We need to limit the exposure to our staff and most vulnerable patients. Therefore, we ask the following:
· For those patients with respiratory issues-(fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other issues like sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, etc. ) PLEASE call the office before coming in so our nurses can obtain your history and Dr. Rider can determine the best protocol for accessing and treating you.
· If you have a scheduled appt and have fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms – please call before coming into the office.
· If you are having difficulty breathing call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
· We do not have COVID-19 testing available in our office, but if Dr. Rider determines you need it, we do have the means to get you tested.
· If you have general questions about Covid -10 please call 1-888-364-3065 and trained personnel can answer many of your questions. This also prevents our limited staff from taking phone calls so we can treat/respond to those patients needing actual care.
We will update this notification as we get new information. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
Long Lake Medical Staff
INFORMATION LINKS FOR COVID-19 LONG LAKE/RAQUETTE LAKE
From CDC website:
Call your doctor:
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
LAST UPDATED: MARCH 20, 2020 8:45AM
What You Need to Know
All barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing salons, nail salons, hair removal services and related personal care services will be closed to the public effective Saturday, March 21 at 8:00PM.
Governor Cuomo signed an executive order mandating businesses that rely on in-office personnel to decrease their in-office workforce by 75%.
Exemptions from the order will include shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions.
The Department of Financial Services has issued a new directive to New York State mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers impacted by the novel coronavirus.
Retail shopping malls, amusement parks and bowling alleys to close by 8 PM Thursday in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Governor Cuomo signed the bill guaranteeing job protection and pay for New Yorkers who have been quarantined as a result of novel coronavirus.
Governor Cuomo signed an executive order directing all schools in New York to close by Wednesday, March 18 for two weeks ending April 1.
Casinos, gyms, theaters are closed until further notice. Bars and restaurants are closed, but takeout can be ordered during the period of closure.
New York State is waiving all park fees in state, local and county parks.
Testing is free for all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider.
Your local health department is your community contact for COVID-19 concerns.