Otsego County confirms first coronavirus case

Sarah Eames | The Daily StarA New York State Department of Transportation electronic message board near mile marker 29 on Interstate 88 in Bainbridge advises travelers to stay home.

An Otsego County resident has tested positive for COVID-19.

The county's first case was confirmed the morning of Monday, March 23, according to county Public Health Director Heidi Bond. She said the person was tested at a Fox facility in Oneonta. 

According to a media release issued Monday by the county Health Department, the person is a close contact of someone with a confirmed case who lives in another county, which Bond said was Rensselaer County.

Bond said no further details about the patient, such as where in Otsego County they live, could be released. 

The person was in quarantine when symptoms developed and testing was performed "promptly and safely," according to the release. The person was tested the day after they became symptomatic, Bond said. 

The person remains in isolation in their home, Bond said. Close contacts have been notified, according to the release. 

They will remain in isolation until released by the county Health Department, which is following guidance from the state Department of Health, she said. 

Otsego County Board of Representatives Chairman David Bliss, released a statement Monday morning before news of the positive case was made public.

"This is an unsettling time for our country and our community, as we are in a public health emergency due to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)," he said. "Your elected leaders and public health officials are working around the clock to slow the spread of the virus and provide care to those who need it.

Bliss said it is important "to remember that we need to be prepared, not scared." 

He also said: "However, we know that some of you perform essential duties that are critical during this time. This important work may require necessary interaction with the public and we thank you for your work and dedication."

According to state Department of Health data, there were already seven positive cases in The Daily Star's four-county coverage area. Delaware and Chenango counties each had three positive cases, announced March 12 and March 17, respectively, though one of the Delaware County cases was transferred to New York City. Schoharie County has one case, which was announced March 18. 

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