COVID-19 Arrives in Putnam; First Confirmed Lab Cases Reported

Two positive cases of COVID-19 in Putnam County residents have been confirmed by the Putnam County Department of Health. The individuals have been quarantined at home and will continue to be monitored carefully, according to the department.

Contact tracing is underway and those that are found to have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case will be notified by health department officials and precautionary or mandatory quarantine will be established for each person.

“This is not an unexpected event, nor should it cause alarm,” said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We knew eventually a positive case would be confirmed. The Putnam County Department of Health’s communicable disease staff is working with state and local partners to identify all possible contacts.”

Prior to lab-confirmation of positive COVID-19 cases in Putnam, the county executive declared a State of Emergency and ordered all public schools closed for a five-day period.

“I have signed three emergency orders to further protect the most vulnerable of our community,” said Odell.

Effective midnight tonight (Sunday), the emergency orders include the mandatory closing of daycare centers and nursery schools, prohibiting public gatherings or events of more than 20 people, and prohibiting buffet-style food.

“The message we are sending is this – we strongly recommend proactive and extensive social distancing,” said Odell. “You should only be leaving your homes when absolutely necessary. All social events should be reconsidered and rescheduled if at all possible. By slowing the spread of COVID-19, it can allow the health care system to be better prepared and have the available beds for the most ill.”

“Until now we have been monitoring dozens of possible exposures, both with and without symptoms,” added Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Nesheiwat. “We are working around the clock to ensure all measures are taken to mitigate, or slow the impact of this virus.”

Data suggest that 80 percent of people who contract the virus self-resolve and tend to have mild symptoms that eventually subside, according to the health commissioner411. “But we practice social distancing for the 20 percent that will have serious complications, hospitalizations requiring intubation, or possibly death,” he said.

Testing for COVID-19 is occurring in Putnam County, at the discretion of an attending physician following state DOH and CDC guidelines.

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