Sullivan COVID-19 news conference

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At a gathering of state and local officials and healthcare professionals, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who is also a licensed nurse, offered perhaps the most interesting bit of information. Reading from her phone she said death rates among COVID-19 patients in Italy, which has been hit hard by the virus, were released. "Age 0 to 29 is 0 percent; 30 to 49 .1 percent; 50 to 59 .6 percent; 60 to 69 2.7 percent; 70 to 79 is 9.6 percent; over 80 is 16.6 percent and 90 is about 19 percent."

COVID-19 is clearly more dangerous to older people than others, and is certainly part of the reason the that visitors are being asked to stay away from the Care Center at Sunset Lake, formerly known as the county nursing home. 

Stephanie Brown, commissioner of the Sullivan County Health and Family Services Department said exceptions will be made if a loved one is going through an end-of-life experience, but that most visitors will be denied entrance and other procedures are being changed because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Jonathn Schiller, CEO of Catskill Regional Medical Center, said similar changes were taking place at that facility. He said in reference to the nursing home, "based on the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) we have restricted visitation to the patients in our skilled nursing unit. The only visitation permitted at this time is for family members of patients who may be activly dying.

Robert Dufour, superintendent of Sullivan County BOCES said the school districts in the county have been in thouch with the New York State Education Department, which has implemented a policy that if a student tests positive for COVID-19, the school must be closed for 24 hours so an assessment of the situation can be made. If any schools need to be closed for any period of time, steps are being taken to ensure that students who depend on meals provided at school will continue to receive those meals.

The press conference was held on March 13 at 1:30 p.m. Nancy McGraw director of Public Health noted that there were no positive cases of COVID-19 in Sullivan County, although she expects that to change. She said it's "inevitable" that cases will turn up in in the county.

State Senator Jen Metzger repeated the steps that can be taken to prevent COVID-19 such as frequent hand washing with soap for 20 seconds, social distancing to trying to stay at least six feet away from other people, avoiding gathering with lots of people.

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