COVID Rates Spike in Essex County 

When Northwood Students arrived in Lake Placid in late August COVID-19 cases in Essex County, NY, where Lake Placid is located, were far lower than almost all other counties in New York, and even in the United States. New cases were almost nonexistent in the areas surrounding Northwood. Almost every Coronavirus test being administered in Essex County was coming back negative, hospitalizations and deaths due to virus in the area were so low that residents generally felt safe and weren’t fearful of the virus. 

The Essex Center Center Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Elizabethtown, NY was the center of the first major COVID-19 outbreak in Essex County in August 2020 (Photo: mychamplainvalley.com)

Five months later, in January 2021, COVID-19 cases in Essex County have skyrocketed. The North Country region, on one the 10 regions of New York state and where Essex County is located, is now considered a very high-risk area. At one point, as students were preparing to return to Northwood, there were consistently more than 20 new cases each dayAs of this writing, new cases have leveled off to around 10 new cases per day, and there is some evidence that cases arstarting to decline and the apex of the pandemic in the region is behind us 

According to the New York Times, 1 in 35 residents in Essex County have been infected with COVID19. On average 78 percent of intensive care beds in area hospitals are occupied, according to the Times, many with COVID patients. Hospital capacity may become an issue, especially if positivity rates and cases begin to climb again, because Essex County may have trouble hospitalizing all who need it. As of January 2021, there has been an increased rate of Covid hospitalizations in Essex County from 57-72% of available beds, which is higher than it ever was in 2020. Public health officials will keep an eye on these numbers and will need them to go down in order to keep schools and the economy open. 

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