Broome County Executive Jason Garnar says a third resident has died of causes related to COVID-19.

Garnar Friday afternoon announced the death of a woman in her 70s. He said she died at a United Health Services hospital.

As the number of coronarvirus cases has risen, Garnar said "it's been a tough thing for our community." He repeated his call for social distancing in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Garnar said 17 positive coronavirus cases have been confirmed so far in Broome County.

Dozens of medical beds have been brought to the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in preparation for possible cornavirus patients. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

To prepare for a significant increase in COVID-19 illnesses, the county has established an EMS, triage and holding facility at the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena in downtown Binghamton.

Garnar said more than 50 beds have been set up at the site for people who are suspected of having coronavirus or those who have tested positive. He said hospital capacity must be preserved for the most critical patients.

The county executive said all local healthcare professionals who aren't already working have been enlisted to help as needed. He said school nurses are among those who will be providing assistance.

Broome County officials spoke during  a COVID-19 briefing in downtown Binghamton on March 27, 2020. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

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