Broome County Executive Jason Garnar is adding his voice to local officials saying they worry about college students returning to the area in the next couple of weeks. 

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The Democrat echoes Republican Binghamton Mayor Richard David’s concern about keeping a handle on student activity to avoid spreading the coronavirus.   

Broome has already seen infection numbers go up over the past month as more businesses reopened and people began to gather for social events, often ignoring safety guidelines like physical distancing and wearing masks.

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During a news briefing August 5, Garnar says even without the return of the students, 77% of the recent infections reported are coming from community spread, not group facilities like nursing homes, and most of them are people under the age of 40. 

The County has been using Fire Inspectors to follow up on complaints to the New York State hotline about businesses failing to follow the guidelines for curbing the spread of COVID-19 and he says it’s possible those inspectors could have 'checking up on parties and other gatherings' added to their list of duties. 

As for the follow-up to business complaints, Garnar says in the past week or two officials have made about 160 calls regarding complaints to the state website.  He says there were visits to 30 “high-fliers”: businesses that have been the point of numerous complaints about mask-wearing, social distancing and occupancy limits.