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Virus count up to 7 in Montgomery County

FONDA — Positive COVID-19 virus cases are slowly continuing to rise in Montgomery County as that number is now up to seven.

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort, Montgomery County Public Health Director Sara Boerenko and Assist. Public Health Director Jessica Marotta gave an update on the spread of the COVID-19 virus on Friday again by a Facebook live video.

On Saturday, the total number of positive cases went from six to seven, and that number stayed at seven as of Monday evening.

Ossenfort said the State of Emergency that is currently in effect in the county will stay in effect until April 14, along with schools which have closed for an additional two weeks.

He said county officials will decide by April 13 as to whether the State of Emergency needs to be extended further.

“The biggest thing I want to emphasize today is we’re getting a lot of questions. What we need to understand at this point is there are going to be things, no matter how uncomfortable it is, that we do not have answers for,” Ossenfort said. “Whether it comes to testing, infection rates, fatality rates, how things are spreading in the community. It’s becoming harder and harder to have a direct connection and we are in a phase where this is becoming a community-spread situation.”

Since it has become community spread, Ossenfort is asking residents to follow the self isolation and social distancing guidelines in place.

He said no one is immune.

“Montgomery County has an oldER population relative to other areas of this state and that is tremendously concerning, so we need to look after our seniors,” Ossenfort said.

As for people coming upstate from New York City, Ossenfort asks them to refrain from traveling, and if they choose to travel to call public health and self isolate for 14 days.

As the State of Emergency continues, and as businesses continue to close due to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s guidelines, businesses are continuing to struggle, therefore, Ossenfort said the county is working to help those struggling businesses.

“We have businesses that have loans with the county,” Ossenfort said. “We’re taking action to defer those payments until this crisis is over to make sure we don’t lose any businesses.”

Boerenko said the county is still short testing and suggested residents ask state officials for support for more testing.

Ossenfort said the order of test kits has been in for 10 days now.

“Advocate for our community with your elected officials,” Boerenko said. “When we get more tests we will let people know, but right now we do not have them.”

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