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3 more COVID-19 cases identified in Niagara County


Mon, Mar 23rd 2020 03:35 pm

TUESDAY UPDATE: Niagara County Public Information Officer Kevin Schuler sent this email:

"The Niagara County Public Health Department had four test results pending. Two of those, thankfully, have come back negative.

"Currently, Niagara County has 12 positive results, 64 people quarantined, 12 in isolation and still 2 pending test results from last week. In addition, 29 people have completed their quarantine."

Stapleton: Community contact tracing will cease

Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton on Monday said the county has received three new positive test results from the New York State Department of Health. As of this morning, Niagara County now has 12 positive results, 64 people quarantined, 12 in isolation and still four pending test results from last week.

It is believed all new cases were via community spread.

In addition, 29 people have completed their quarantine.

The new positives are at both ends of Niagara County: one in the Town of Lockport, one in the City of Lockport and one in Niagara Falls.

“The numbers across all of Western New York continue to increase and, as I have said, if we had the supplies to do testing at the rate we would like, I am certain the number of positives would be higher,” Stapleton said.

He explained his team of public health nurses are “working tirelessly” to quarantine new folks and checking on those in quarantine and isolation.

“These are the team’s priorities and keeping up with those priorities is overwhelming,” Stapleton said. “Thankfully, we have been able to bring on board three additional public health nurses to try to somehow to keep pace. We have also deployed some other staff to supporting our COVID-19 response.”

Stapleton said that, while the Niagara County Health Department would continue to reach out to those who came in close, direct contact with a positive case – like family members and friends – they will no longer be doing full-scale community contact tracing, as it has “little to no clinical value at this point.”

“As every health and government officials has repeatedly said, act is if the virus is everywhere because it probably is,” Stapleton said. “A few months ago, we had a hepatitis outbreak at a local restaurant. Contact tracing – letting people know if you ate this restaurant at this date and time please get tested – made sense. It does not make sense in a pandemic, and it’s taking time away from other critical functions.”

“People should not take a false sense of security if the virus is not yet in your town, nor panic if it is,” he added. “The advice is the same: Stay home as much as you can. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands. These steps are key to getting us through this.”

Stapleton said his department is working on a Niagara County COVID-19 map.

Click HERE to watch Stapleton's Facebook video message.

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