CLIFTON PARK -- VENT Fitness sent an email to members on Tuesday notifying them that the two people who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Saratoga County had visited the Clifton Park location of the franchise just days ago.
Also on Tuesday, health and law enforcement officials met in Ballston Spa to discuss with community leaders how to best educate the public about the virus.
In the email sent to members, VENT Fitness management confirmed that the two people, who were diagnosed on March 7, one a 57-year-old pharmacist and one is a 52-year old woman, were both at the gym on March 5.
The email continued to say that the Saratoga Department of Health contacted VENT Fitness on March 9 to inform the gym of a potential exposure at the Clifton Park location. Saratoga County DOH, continued the email, “determined a group that attended a specific class were most at risk and are contacting this group of individuals directly to determine next steps.”
Management added that, to their knowledge, there had not been any other potential exposures to the virus at any of the gym’s other franchises.
“We are advising staff and members to limit direct contact with others while at the gym,” the email read.
An employee who answered the phone at the gym did not offer an immediate comment on the email, but confirmed that the location had been getting “a lot of calls” about the situation.
Municipalities, as well as local school districts and colleges have been taking steps over the past few days to prevent and contain the spread of the virus.
Schenectady County has no confirmed cases, but 12 people are under voluntary quarantine due to travel, and eight are under mandatory quarantine while awaiting test results after showing some symptoms, according to the county Public Health Department.
On Saturday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency, which allows the state and local governments to speed up the purchasing process for cleaning supplies and the leasing of lab space.
On Tuesday evening, dozens of community leaders, from educational professionals to mayors and town supervisors, gathered in the auditorium at Ballston Spa High School to learn more about the virus and learn how to ensure the spread of correct information about the virus, as well as what steps to take to safely manage any outbreaks in their communities.
Catherine Duncan, Saratoga County director of public health services, stressed the need for vigilance considering the rapid pace at which the virus has been spreading.
“The information that I’m going to give you tonight isn’t going to last long, it is probably going to change,” she said. She did note that there was currently no “community spread” of the virus in Saratoga County.
There will be two sites capable of testing for the virus in Saratoga County, she said. One site will be set up at Saratoga Hospital, open five days a week by appointment only. Another site, to be determined by the state Department of Health, will provide mobile resources for testing to be used by first responders in the field.
Mike McEvoy, EMS coordinator for Saratoga County, said he did not see an immediate problem with supplies for first responders working with those who are quarantined.
“We’re certainly, at this point, very well prepared and I think our people will be well supplied for awhile,” he said.
Speakers at the forum also stressed that the best possible way to keep the virus from spreading, as new information comes in, is to practice routine hygiene practices, such as washing hands and staying home from work when feeling ill.
Harry Miller, a pediatrician from Clifton Park and speaker at the event from Four Seasons, also instructed people to use common sense when dealing with those who are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, namely, elderly people and those who already have health complications.
“I know I’m saying to my patients, my parents, if your kids are sick, don’t visit grandpa,” he said.