LOWVILLE- There are several points of concern in the boiling pot that currently have health experts on edge over what they say will likely overflow in terms of rising novel coronavirus related hospitalization and deaths across the state and country in the coming weeks ahead.
One of these points revolves around simply wearing a face mask while out in public.
"It's the neighborly thing to do to help limit the spread of COVID-19," Lewis County Health System CEO Gerald R. Cayer told us.
Listen to our featured on-air interview with CEO Cayer and Chief Executive Physician of Mohawk Valley Health System, Dr. Kent Hall:
In April, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order for all New Yorkers to wear a face mask or some sort of face covering while out in public and shared spaces.
As the months through this pandemic have worn on, another point health experts are aware of is the fact that people here at home, across the state, across the country and around the entire world have become tired of all the health guidelines.
This, according to CEO Cayer, has led to a relaxation of people taking these precautions seriously, including wearing a face mask.
Over the last several weeks, he and other health officials here locally have fielded increasing complaints of area businesses and establishments not enforcing the state's face mask policy.
If you happened to pass by the hospital in Lowville between last Friday and this past Monday, you may have noticed a message on their digital billboard that read: "Walmart Lowville, please be a good neighbor and follow the ‘Wear a Mask’ guidance. Thank you, LCHS."
When we last spoke with Mr. Cayer on Monday, he told us that Walmart in general has been a common place for complaints and the concern he and other health experts share is the fact that Walmart locations are host to countless touching points and higher crowds.
Shortly following an appearance from U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, Mr. Cayer says he had the opportunity to speak with a Walmart Regional Marketing Director about the message on the sign.
"It was a very engaging conversation. We shared our respective positions."
Not long after Mr. Cayer concluded the conversation, he told us that the message had been taken off from the billboard.
This past summer, Walmart made it a store policy for all patrons to wear some sort of a face covering while shopping. But when it comes to enforcement, Walmart further revised their stance on face masks to the point where they will still serve customers who are not wearing one.
As noted in past reports, this decision was made after a rise on confrontations between irate patrons and employees who were attempting to address the situation.
When it comes to complaints, Mr. Cayer says it's not just one specific place, they'be been coming in from all over the county.
"I do believe there are others in our county who are not following the mask policy," he told us.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas soon following, health experts are very concerned over the likelihood of hospitals around the country being even more overwhelmed with sick patients.
With dinners and parties very common this time of year, health experts say that indoor and private gatherings with multiple people who are not from within the household or the immediate area have a high risk of resulting into a cluster of new cases, which can then spread to those who are most vulnerable to severe complications and even the possibility of death.
Here in New York, Governor Cuomo signed an executive Order that limits any gathering to no more than 10 people.
New York's Sheriffs' Association responded to the Governor Monday, claiming that local authorities do not have the resources to enforce his latest enactment.
According to Chief Executive Physician of Mohawk Valley Health System, Dr. Kent Hall, we all are at a critical point in the battle against this virus and he pleads with everyone to keep up with health precautions.
"As good citizens, we need to protect the rest of our citizens because they may very well be vulnerable," he emphasized.
To put it simply, health experts remind the public that science data backs the wearing of face masks in slowing virus transmission down and although it may seem strange in doing so, it could very well save someone's life.
Photos provided from the CDC and Walmart.