Hand Sanitizer March 09 2020

Fighting bugs, from black flies to viruses

Local manufacturer will make scarce hand sanitizer for Franklin County emergency personnel, a safeguard against COVID-19 and flu

SARANAC LAKE — A Saranac Lake bug spray producer is helping Franklin County prepare for the coronavirus and flu by manufacturing hand sanitizer, which has become scarce nationwide.

During Friday’s county legislature meeting, Carpe Insectae founder Randy Cross offered to produce hand sanitizer for county offices, employees and civil servants.

District 7 Legislator Lindy Ellis, D-Saranac Lake, said the mission is to keep healthy those who respond to emergencies and needs, so they can keep others healthy. She referenced a case in King County, Washington, that saw the coronavirus infect a group of firefighters and police officers, and caused them to go into quarantine.

“This is for firefighters, emergency services and public health people who work directly in keeping us safe,” she said in a phone interview Friday.

Ellis said the county is contracting with Cross because hand sanitizer is hard to find currently. “It’s not available on the shelves right now,” she said.

Ellis said the plan is to have large containers as well as small bottles for easy carrying. She said Cross should have the first batch ready by Friday, March 20.

Ellis didn’t provide an exact price for how much it would all cost, but she said it would be cheaper than buying it off the shelf.

As of Friday at 3 p.m., the state Department of Health reported 33 positive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, many of which are in Westchester County and New York City.

“Franklin County does not have any current issue,” Ellis said. “These are preventative measures to keep the number of cases down.”

Hand sanitizer is a good supplement, but many health organizations say it should not be used as a replacement for washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, which is roughly one round of singing the Alphabet song or two rounds of “Happy Birthday.”

Ellis applauded Cross for acting so quickly. “We came up with this idea yesterday, and he found a way to move forward with it,” she said. “That is a true public service.”

MAR 7, 2020 GRIFFIN KELLY Staff Writer gkelly@adirondackdailyenterprise.com