Residents concerned as Plattsburgh senior housing complex quarantined

Published: Apr. 10, 2020 at 6:15 PM EDT
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Nearly 70 people who live in senior housing in Plattsburgh are quarantined after four residents in the building tested positive for COVID-19. Our Kelly O'Brien spoke to the housing authority and a resident living inside.

"Regardless of how drastic it seemed, it was the appropriate thing to do," said Mark Hamilton of the Plattsburgh Housing Authority.

Thursday night, residents of the Russell H. Barnard apartments got knocks on their doors and were handed an envelope by the Clinton County Health Department of Sheriff's Department letting them know they were being placed under quarantine-- self-isolation-- and only medically essential visits would be allowed.

Kelly spoke with one resident who didn't want to go on camera but did want their questions answered by the Plattsburgh Housing Authority. So Kelly got them on the phone and asked them.

"We're doing everything we can to bring food and other essential supplies directly to the residents, so they really have no need or reason to get our of the apartment," Hamilton said.

The resident says they are allowed to leave their rooms to go outside to smoke or take their dog out on the property but Hamilton says it's not recommended they leave the apartment at all.

"They're really not supposed to be engaged with other people," Hamilton said.

The resident, who lacks a Wi-Fi connection is concerned about how to get information when they can't leave. The Housing Authority says it will deliver the residents daily newspapers.

Other concerns involved building cleanliness. The resident claimed they rarely saw cleaners in the building.

"They're not coming out as much and they haven't been for weeks because of the virus, so they don't actually see all of the efforts we have in place," Hamilton said.

Those efforts, Hamilton says, are crews working overtime to clean all the PHA buildings twice a day during the week and once a day on weekends.

"Handrails, elevators, elevator buttons, call buttons on the outside of the elevators, doorknobs, every touchpoint," Hamilton said.

Hamilton says any of those medical or cleaning staff entering the building must wear protective gear to ensure everyone's safety.

Hamilton says they are not considering this for any other Housing Authority Properties because it's not warranted at this time.

The residents that tested positive are stable. As for testing all the residents, the health department says the will only administer tests to those who need hospitalization.

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