cdc spore

The spikes that adorn the outer surface of the coronavirus, which impart the look of a corona, when viewed through an electron microscope. CDC photo

WATERTOWN — Jefferson County public health announced Tuesday that it will no longer list the places where people may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Jefferson County has joined St. Lawrence County in deciding to no longer release COVID-19 exposure sites to the public.

“The disease is everywhere,” said Stephen A. Jennings, Jefferson County public health planner. “It doesn’t matter where you go.”

Mr. Jennings said he’s not telling people not to go out, he just wants people to know they are at risk whenever they do, and they should be hyper-vigilant in protecting themselves.

There were 162 known active virus cases isolated in Jefferson County on Monday, as well as four people hospitalized with the virus. More than 1,000 are on mandatory quarantine, highlighting the wide exposure of the virus.

Mr. Jennings said there has been a significant increase in spread between family members at home. They are getting out of the cold and staying inside without masks, but, often times, that spread would stop at those families, he said. Once others are introduced to the home, that’s where it becomes more of a risk, which is why the Jefferson County Public Health Service is predicting a further increase in cases after Thanksgiving.

But above all, Jefferson County is continuing to contact trace, and they’re going to continue to push mask wearing, social distancing, not gathering in large groups and staying home when sick.

“It’s not information that is useful for people,” Mr. Jennings said of exposure sites. “Whenever you go out, you are at risk. That is our message.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(3) comments


People need to realize it is not about ‘transparency’ or lack of, it’s about ‘control’...


In a perfect world, a broad and sweeping statement like Covid is everywhere, so people need to be vigilant everywhere, might suffice. But the reality is that what moves one person to be vigilant can be different from what moves another person. It's one of the reasons why full transparency is important. Full transparency provides an array of data and information, increasing the likelihood that individuals will be moved or influenced by at least some facet of it. What makes a person vigilant is, unfortunately, personal. Individuals have to personally identify with some facet of public health data and information. Some facet of it has to "hit home" before they are vigilant. Release the data and information so individuals can decide for themselves what "hits home" and finally compels them to be vigilant. Get over that it shouldn't be this way. It is this way, so deal with it constructively.


While it is wise for people to always be vigilant and wear masks, it is irresponsible for Jefferson County not to let people know where cases of COVID exist ... where people believed they contracted the disease and which towns people testing positive live. Cities with far larger populations and higher percentages of infection make that information public down to the street COVID positive people resided. Transparency is always the right option for a public institution ... and people respond far better to imminent threats. Your decision to keep vital information will, I think, do more harm than good.

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