Casino Employee in New York Tests Positive for COVID-19

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An employee at Rivers Casino in Upstate New York tested positive for coronavirus this week. The Casino is located in Schenectady, New York, and the casino is notifying customers recently visited.

The staff member remains unidentified and worked at the property between September 20-22 and 29, according to WTEN-TV. Contact tracing is being enforced for people that were at Rivers Casino during those days.

The casino is located in Schenectady County, where residents have been more fortunate during the COVID-19 outbreak compared to other parts of the state. Since reopening last month, casino officials have told the media that they are going above and beyond state casino guidelines.

“The health, safety, and wellbeing of our Team Members, guests, and the community is our top priority. Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady follows best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and meets or exceeds all State of New York Gaming Facility Guidelines for reopening. We defer to the Schenectady County Health Department for all COVID-19 data. If any cases have the potential for impact on Team Members or guests, they are notified accordingly,” casino officials said.

Despite the scare at the upstate casino, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has limited places like this to 25% capacity to limit the spread of COVID-19. The casino and state officials hope that there wasn’t a significant spread from the casino employee.

Casino Requirements

The Empire State kept casinos closed for six months after the coronavirus outbreak began in New York back in mid-March. After casino employees protested to reopen casinos, Gov. Cuomo finally did so in early September with a laundry list of requirements to ensure a second COVID wave did not start in the state.

The 12 gaming properties reopened on September 9 at 25 percent capacity. Everyone at the gaming sites had to wear a mask, both customers and employees. Table games were prohibited until protective plexiglass was installed to help increase social distancing.

Casinos were also told to install different air filtration systems to help air circulation spread COVID-19 around the facility.

Cuomo and the state were making sure they put everything into place, so an outbreak would not happen. So far, only one employee has tested positive, and the hope is that they did not cause an outbreak in Schenectady County. The issue is trying to figure out if the employee contracted the virus and went to work, or did a Rivers Casino patron bring the virus in.

That will soon be determined by contact tracing.

COVID Cases Increase in New York?

Since the initial outbreak in March, New York has seen coronavirus cases diminish over the last six months. However, at the end of September, COVID cases did jump to over 1,000 per day in the state. The last time that happened was in April.

There is a chance that this is happening as the state reopens some entertainment venues with a low number of cases. A few hot spots are popping up in the state, but Schenectady County is not one of them.

The next few weeks will be important for casinos to remember to follow state guidelines to limit the risk of spreading coronavirus. This is only going to help them stay open longer.