The past week has certainly put COVID in the spotlight across New York State as the governor restricted household gatherings, and hospitals prepare for a post-Thanksgiving spike.
As of last Sunday, Tioga County remained listed as a Focus Area Zone, and as public health workers continue to trace, track, and communicate with affected individuals regarding quarantine.
The good news is that the number of active cases since Monday, Nov. 23 and Friday morning, Nov. 27, have decreased by 43; the number of confirmed cases over the last week increased by 33.
As for Thanksgiving, lawmakers urged families to limit their gatherings and to curtail travel in an effort to lessen the anticipated spike. Many, to include those expected to enforce it, however, labeled the enforcement of such rules, unconstitutional.
In a Nov. 24 tweet from Tioga County Sheriff Gary Howard, he stated that COVID-19 is a very serious disease, and that his office has been doing what they can within the law and Constitution to keep people safe.
In the tweet, Sheriff Howard stated, “Recently the Governor issued an order limiting residential gatherings to no more than 10 individuals. He demands that Sheriffs, not his own State Police, enforce it. Unfortunately, what he has given us; we have no way to enforce. New Yorkers have a right to privacy in their homes and the right to be free of warrantless searches. We cannot go into citizens’ homes to see how many people are dining there. We have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution, and the Constitution trumps the Governor’s executive order. Please be responsible and protect yourselves and others until we can defeat this disease.”
The Owego Police Department followed suit with a social media post that stated, “As a reminder, we would like to ask our community to please follow COVID guidelines during this holiday. The Owego Police Department will not infringe on your constitutional rights by checking your homes to determine how many people are present.”
The Legislative Chair, Martha Sauerbrey, also urged caution and reminded residents to remain vigilant. She did urge, however, in a Letter to the Editor last week, that we continue to check on those that live alone and try to help others as best we can during the pandemic; especially our small businesses.
In order to help track cases following Thanksgiving, a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Site is being set up in Waverly, N.Y. this week and will be open every day at the Waverly Village Hall at 32 Ithaca St. You can read the details here.
For all else, COVID related, visit https://covid19.tiogacountyny.com or call the Tioga County Coronavirus Response Hotline at (607) 687-8225.