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As part of the effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Schuyler County officials are asking potential visitors to the county to follow state and federal instructions and stay home until our nation defeats the pandemic.
They joined Seneca and Yates counties, who made similar requests to snow birds and other part-time residents.
While Schuyler County welcomes its seasonal residents and visitors, Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued a State of Emergency and Schuyler County has done the same.
This has been done to protect both county residents and potential travelers during this unsettling and frightening time.
In normal times, Schuyler County emergency services and medical facilities are capable of providing excellent care, officials noted. However, because Schuyler County is rural and has a population of approximately 18,000 people, its emergency and medical communities are limited in their ability to serve a large number of patients. Statewide, reports have surfaced that hospitals near New York City are already reaching capacity and workers on the frontlines are falling ill.
There is currently no travel ban in New York State, nor is there a state requirement that individuals coming back into the state or between counties within the state be quarantined for fourteen days.
However, travel between communities has been flagged as a factor in spreading the virus. For example, the state has seen reports of New York City residents retreating to their second homes in the Hamptons, stressing local hospitals and preventing local businesses from providing necessary goods and services.
On Tuesday (March 24) the White House urged anyone who has been in New York City to self-quarantine for 14 days to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has become widespread in the city.
In response to federal and state action, county officials will continue to focus efforts on decreasing population density, which has been proven to slow the spread of the virus.
Schuyler County Public Health Director Deborah Minor alerted any visitor to follow the same precautions set forth for all community members:
- Stay home as much as possible.
- If you must go out into our community, practice social distancing by maintaining six feet from one another.
- If you are ill, isolate yourself and call your healthcare provider.
- Wash your hands often.
- If you have symptoms, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, seek testing.
Legislature Chairman Carl Blowers thanked county employees for their efforts in fighting the virus and members of the public for their understanding.
“Together we will get through this and protect those at highest risk for serious illness. Thank you for your understanding in these unusual times,” officials said in a statement.