Steuben Co Manager: Too Many People Don’t Know/Care

April 4, 2020

OPEN LETTER TO THE RESIDENTS OF STEUBEN COUNTY
April 4, 2020

Fellow Residents – I want to reach out with both updates and a plea for your help in our response to COVID-19. First, some positives from this crisis – We are fortunate to have such amazing staff working daily for the safety and security of our County. We have engaged and supportive Legislators guiding us and backing us. We have workers of all walks keeping our hospitals, grocery stores, and other essential services functioning. A vast majority in our community are doing the right things to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

But I’m personally growing frustrated in recent days. We are seeing far too many people that either don’t know, or don’t care about social distancing. We get reports daily of groups of family or friends that meet up to do their shopping together, or to just walk around the stores. We have people that are sick, get tested for COVID and on the way home from the doctors, stop at the store to stock up while symptomatic, exposing countless others. We have our first individual that broke a quarantine order.
We all get it – staying home is hard. It can be boring. It can be monotonous. But it is literally protecting us and our neighbors.

During the first week of “New York State on PAUSE”, the reports we received were very encouraging, and it appeared that most were complying with social distancing. As the weeks advance, staying home and limiting social interactions obviously grows more difficult. This is not our normal way of life and it is hard to adjust and maintain these practices.

However – it is imperative that we do, as the trend of positive cases in Steuben is alarming. At the time of this writing, we have 60 confirmed cases, 13 residents hospitalized with the virus, and 220 individuals in isolation and quarantine. Tragically, we also had our first COVID-related death this week. On the bright side, we have 12 people that have fully recovered, and we expect that number to grow. What we desperately need is your help – When going to the store, please shop solo and go by yourself. We know it may not be possible for single parents, but for the rest of us, it’s a must. Shop for enough supplies so that you don’t need to go out multiple times per week. Use curbside or pickup options where available. Please do not gather with friends for social purposes, as uncomfortable as
may be. The faster we all commit fully to social distancing, the quicker we will slow the spread of COVID-19 in Steuben County.

The choices we all make today determine what our positive case count will be in the next week or two. Our actions have an exponential impact, both positive and negative. How about we choose the positive, and stay home and stay safe.

Jack K. Wheeler, MPA
County Manager