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Niagara County offers update on COVID-19 cases


Thu, Mar 19th 2020 05:15 pm

Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton on Thursday afternoon released the following statement regarding the three positive COVID-19 test results the Niagara County Department of Health received from the New York State Health Department. These three individuals live in western Niagara County, which includes Niagara Falls and the towns of Niagara, Lewiston and Porter.

“I recognize the public wants as much information as possible as soon as possible. We are doing our best to get that out,” he said. “Our initial priority is quarantining those who were in close, regular contact with these individuals, because that is the key to reducing community spread. With three cases, that effort is taking time, but our team is working hard. A full contact trace that looks back at all the places an individual has been will take between 24 and 48 hours and will be released as soon as we can. At this time, we cannot say for sure if the disease was contracted through community spread or exposure through travel to a hot zone, but all signs seem to be pointing toward community spread.”

He said this is the information known at this time:

•An 83-year-old man tested positive at Mount St. Mary’s. He has underlying health complications and is currently in a local health care facility.

•A 62-year-old man, who tested positive at a Kaleida facility, does not have any apparent underlying health complications. He is currently isolating at home.

•A 62-year-old female tested positive at a Kaleida facility. It is unknown at this time about any underlying health condition. She is isolating at home.

Stapleton said none of these individuals were under Niagara County Health Department quarantine, and none are connected to each other.

As of Thursday, there are 42 individuals in quarantine and four in isolation, including these three new positives.

The Health Department is still waiting on five pending test results.

Mount St. Mary’s issued the following statement on Thursday evening: “There is a patient at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital who has tested positive for COVID-19. The hospital is working with the Niagara County Department of Health, New York State Department of Health and CDC following all guidelines for treating and isolating patients with suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19. Catholic Health has a team of Infection Prevention & Control Specialists who are managing this situation and ensuring the safety of other patients and staff at the hospital. Due to HIPAA privacy laws, we cannot release any other information about the patient.”

In addition, a spokeswoman included the new visitation policy, which states, “With the presence of Coronavirus in Western New York, Catholic Health is implementing a new visiting policy to protect the health and safety of our patients, visitors and staff.

“Effective March 18, 2020, all hospital visitation is suspended.

“Exceptions will be made for patients receiving end-of-life care or who have had a change in their health status; and for fathers, spouses and life partners of maternity patients.

“Under these special circumstances, one visitor will be allowed per patient.

“All visitors will need to submit to a verbal health screening and temperature scan.

“These measures are being taken to limit the spread of Coronavirus in our community and to ensure we are able to care for those who are sick or injured.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your cooperation and understanding.”

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