PENN YAN — Wondering if the Yates County Public Health Department is aware of people coming to the area from COVID-19 “hot spots,” and whether they are self-quarantining?
The short answer is yes.
“Sometimes, neighbors are turning folks in,” Deb Minor, the county’s public health director, told the county Legislature at its Monday meeting. “Are we finding out about all of them? Absolutely not.”
Minor updated the Legislature about the county’s latest coronavirus numbers. As of Monday, there were 63 positive cases and 8,500 negative tests.
Five people are isolating until a test comes back, and nine people are under quarantine after traveling from a state on New York’s watch list. There have been seven deaths in the county due to COVID-19, most in a nursing home setting.
“We continue to work very hard with our schools now that students are back,” Minor said, adding that member of her staff have visited gyms in the county.
Minor noted people who ignore a quarantine face a potential fine, but that hasn’t happened yet.
“We really don’t want to take a heavy-handed approach,” she said.
Steve Griffin, the county’s economic developer, said there has been an uptick in development projects recently. However, business owners remain apprehensive about a potential spike in cases.
“They are waiting for the hammer to drop if there is a ruling or executive order,” Griffin said.
Griffin added that there are more than 300 job openings in the county, including close to 40 at KanPak, a producer of dairy and coffee-based products in Penn Yan. And, while the additional federal unemployment benefit of $600 per week ended in late July, the state benefit of $300 remains.
“People are making more money not working than working,” he said.
County Administrator Nonie Flynn said unlike larger counties with malls and big-box stores, Yates has weathered the COVID-19 economic storm well. She said in the first three months of this year, sales-tax revenue was up nearly 20%, and it has been down close to 10% during the late spring and early summer months.
“We’re in pretty good shape,” she said.
In other board business:
• ANNIVERSARY — The Legislature recognized the 80th anniversary of the Yates County Soil & Water Conservation District, which was formed in September 1940. Over that time, the district has provided technical assistance promoting soil conservation to county residents, municipalities and businesses.