COVID numbers jump here. Blip or trend?


By Patsy Nicosia

Whether Schoharie County’s jump in the number of positive COVID-19 cases is a statistical blip or the sign of what’s to come…we’ll see.
But one thing’s clear:
We just need to wear the damn masks.
Friday’s numbers showed a gain of 10 positive COVID-19 cases in about six days for a total of 40.
Of those who’ve tested positive, one died, 35 have recovered, and four remain in isolation.
Eight have required isolation.
“We’re not out of the woods by any means,” said Supervisors Chairman Bill Federice Saturday.
“People need to wear face masks where it’s appropriate. I think we have people who don’t want to or don’t realize they need to, but it’s critical if we’re ever going to get on with our lives.”
Both Mr. Federice and Public Health Director Amy Gildemeister said they’ve gotten complaints about places where people aren’t wearing masks—something Dr. Gildemeister said Code Enforcement officials have been going out to address.
“It is possible businesses will face closure if they can’t figure out how to run in ways that are safe and appropriate,” she said.
Dr. Gildemeister said she’s keeping an eye on the increase in positive COVID cases—the largest jump here since the first on March 20—and she’s concerned over what will happen as the weather improves and people start lining up for treats like ice cream.
Friday, Governor Cuomo closed schools and colleges for the rest of the term.
Also Friday, Mr. Federice said that as part of the ongoing New York on Pause, all county offices and facilities will remain closed to the public through May 15; they’ve been closed since the State of Emergency was declared on March 31.
“Over the coming weeks, the Board of Supervisors and COVID-19 Task Force will continue evaluating health risks…and reassess,” Mr. Federice said in a statement Friday.
“During this time, essential county operation will continue with the minimum of staffing required.”
Though Governor Cuomo has said he’ll allow some low-risk businesses to reopen as soon as May 15—notably manufacturing and construction and even then, they’ll be required to put together a plan—Dr. Gildemeister stressed other businesses won’t be reopening until at least the end of the month, after two weeks of seeing how the first phase of reopening goes.
The rules and restrictions coming from the state are confusing and often conflicting, she said, and anyone with specific questions can call her office at (518) 295-8365.
“If you’re not construction or manufacturing, you need to spend May coming up with a good safety plan for reopening,” she said.
“Look at how you can open in a way that makes sense. You’re not going to be able to reopen your business in the same way that you did in February.”
“Without these kinds of changes, she warned, “we’ll end up reversing course. I’d like to be able to get back to life too.”
Dr. Gildemeister said that also applies to the need to slow the case in positive COVID cases by wearing masks and social-distancing.
“This week’s numbers weren’t encouraging,” she said, and it’s something she’s keeping an eye on.
“It’s very concerning to me. If we go up by 10 again, we may put our early reopening in jeopardy.”