Spread of COVID prompts one week shut down by Johnstown business

JOHNSTOWN — Vince’s Pizza & Pasta on Monday announced it was voluntarily closing its business for one week after one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.

On Sunday, Fulton County had a COVID-19 positivity percentage of 8.56% with 19 new positives out of 222 tests administered, a little more than double New York state’s 62-county average positivity of 3.65%, and higher than neighboring Montgomery County (9 new positives out of 176 tests, 5.11% positivity) and Saratoga County (55 new positives out of 1,636 tests, 3.36% positivity).

“Due to the rising [number] of COVID-19 cases in Fulton County and another positive case in our business, we have decided to keep our business CLOSED for this entire week,” reads a message posted to Vince’s Facebook page. “We need to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and well being of our staff and customers. We will reopen Tuesday, September 14, 2021.”

The 118 W. Main St. business had previously announced on social media that it would be closed on Labor Day, and then posted about the one-week closure in the early afternoon on Monday.

Vince’s received praise on social media for the decision to temporarily close in the form of positive comments, 67 shares of the post, as of Monday evening, and 84 positive reactions in the forms of ‘likes’ on Facebook. In the online comments one person asked if the business would say when the employee who tested positive worked at the business.

“[The person who tested positive] worked all week last week. Upfront behind the plexiglas. Last at work was Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.,” reads the response from Vince’s social media page.

Help us bring this news to you, check out our subscribe page at: Leader-Herald Subscribe

The business officials operating Vince’s social media page did not agree to an interview for this story Monday night, citing the strain the virus has placed on its personnel and ownership.

Fulton County, as of Monday had only 47.2% of residents with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 25,284 people total, which ranks dead last among the six counties in the mostly rural Mohawk Valley Region and near the bottom of New York state counties for percentage of vaccinated residents.

On Monday these were the vaccine percentages for at least one dose for the other counties in the Mohawk Valley: Herkimer (50.8%, 31,430 people), Montgomery (60%, 29694 people), Oneida (56.2%, 128,988), Otsego (58.4%, 39,873) and Schoharie (53.1%, 16,511 people).

For the last five weeks Fulton County has seen a steadily increasing number of positive cases of COVID-19. These are the 7-day weekly average COVID-19 statistics available for Fulton County as of Monday:

• Aug. 23-30 — 194 people tested positive out of 2,664 tests given, 7.3% positivity

• Aug. 16-22 — 108 people tested positive out of 2,031 tests given, 5.3% positivity

• Aug. 8-15 — 66 people tested positive out of 1,387 tests given, 4.8% positivity

• Aug. 1-7 — 38 people tested positive out of 1,267 tests given, 3% positivity

• July 24-31 — 25 people tested positive out of 1,018 tests given, 2.5% positivity

Dept. of Public Health Director Laurel Headwell on Aug. 9 attributed this to the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant. Headwell has advised that community spread of the virus has reached substantial levels and even individuals who have received a COVID-19 vaccination should resume wearing masks during indoor gatherings, although few throughout the county appear to be adhering to that guidance.

The CDC has released reports indicating on average each person infected with the Delta Variant of COVID-19 is likely to spread the virus to at least 7 people, compared to 3 people for the original COVID-19 strain dominant in 2020.

The available 7-day weekly average COVID-19 statistics for Montgomery County show the same upward trend as for Fulton County, although not as steep:

• Aug. 23-30 — 136 people tested positive out of 2,381 tests given, 5.7% positivity

• Aug. 16-22 — 118 people tested positive out of 2,303 tests given, 5.1% positivity

• Aug. 8-15 — 72 people tested positive out of 1,351 tests given, 5.3% positivity

• Aug. 8-7 — 43 people tested positive out of 695 tests given, 6.2% positivity

• July 24-31 — 25 people tested positive out of 652 tests given, 3.8% positivity

The next 7-day weekly averages for Aug. 31 through Sept. 6 for Fulton and Montgomery counties, as well as the rest of the state, should be available from the New York State Dept. of Health sometime today and can be found online at covid19tracker.health.ny.gov.

Help us bring this news to you, check out our subscribe page at: Leader-Herald Subscribe

By Paul Wager