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3 new COVID deaths in Essex, Franklin counties

LAKE PLACID — A resident of the Elderwood of Uihlein nursing home died from a COVID-19 related illness on Monday, Aug. 30, a spokesman for the facility confirmed the following day. Franklin County Public Health and the Essex County Health Department both reported a new death from COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Elderwood Vice President of Marketing and Communications Chuck Hayes declined to offer any further details on the person who died at the Lake Placid nursing home, but he offered the company’s condolences to the person’s family and friends.

This new death comes after the nursing home faced an outbreak of COVID-19 in August and still remains closed to visitors indoors. Altogether, 12 people either living or working inside the facility tested positive for COVID-19 last month, according to Hayes.

The person who died in Essex County, and who was not the nursing home resident, was unvaccinated, according to the Essex County Health Department. They tested positive for COVID-19 as part of a cause of death determination.

Franklin County Public Health Director Kathleen Strack and county Manager Donna Kissane did not immediately respond to follow-up questions about the person who died in Franklin County.

It’s unclear whether the person was vaccinated or a resident of a nursing home.

Some details — such as a person’s name, exact age and place of residence — typically aren’t shared by local health departments and healthcare providers when reporting new COVID deaths because of federal privacy laws.

In her daily COVID report, Kissane did write that the person lived in the northern end of the county and was over 64 years old.

“Our condolences are with the family and friends,” Kissane wrote.

Beers: “Consider getting protected”

The new deaths in Franklin and Essex counties this week brings the total number of deaths connected to COVID-19 countywide to 18 and 29, respectively.

In light of the death in Essex County, Essex County Public Health Director Linda Beers again urged residents to get vaccinated.

“Any death is a sad event, and we are saddened that COVID-19 continues to claim lives and cause illness and suffering in our communities,” Beers said. “We urge those who have not yet been vaccinated to consider getting protected now — for themselves, their loved ones, and those who can’t yet get immunized.”

With the spread of the highly contagious delta variant continuing to drive up case numbers, Franklin County remains classified as a “high” transmission area by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning that it continues to see a high number of cases where the source of a person’s infection is unknown.

Essex County was also classified as a “high” transmission area, however, as of Tuesday, it had been downgraded to a “substantial” spread area. The CDC is recommending everyone wear masks indoors in both counties to curb the spread of the virus, regardless of vaccination status. Recent research has shown that although the vaccines largely protect immunized people from severe illness and death from COVID-19, people who are vaccinated and subsequently infected with the delta variant may be just as contagious as those who are unvaccinated.

There were 33 active cases of COVID-19 in Essex County as of Monday, 15 new since Thursday, Aug. 26, according to the Essex County Health Department. There were 102 active cases in Franklin County as of Tuesday, 23 new since Monday. Twenty-two people who tested positive for COVID-19 were discharged Tuesday, according to Franklin County Public Health.

Vaccine clinics

Anyone interested in getting vaccinated against COVID-19 can visit covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov to find a vaccine clinic near them.

The Essex County Health Department frequently offers vaccine clinics and posts schedules for these clinics on its website, www.co.essex.ny.us/Health/make-an-appointment. Vaccines are also available at many local pharmacies.