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As cases continue to rise in Niagara County and surrounding areas, the Niagara County Department of Health is asking the community to remain vigilant and play an important part in reducing community transmission of COVID- 19 if testing positive.
“The number of cases each day are the highest we have seen in Niagara County since the start of the pandemic,” stated Daniel J. Stapleton, public health director. “Our contact tracers are working through an unprecedented amount of cases and we need the public’s help in ensuring a reduction in community spread.”
The NCDOH has added more staff, trained existing staff in contact tracing, and shared contact tracing tasks with the New York State Department of Health. However, even with those measures, there is a delay between when some people find out they have a positive COVID-19 test result, when they are contacted to be informed of isolation expectations, and when close contacts are notified of their need to quarantine.
Individuals who have been told of a positive COVID-19 test result by their physician, pharmacy, health care facility or laboratory must isolate for 10 days past the onset of symptoms, or 10 days past the date of their positive test sample collection (if no symptoms).
Key actions to take if you test positive for COVID-19 (Isolation):
•Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign, seek emergency medical care immediately.
•Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
•Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
•Avoid contact with other members of the household, including pets.
•Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels or utensils.
•Wear a mask when around other people, if you are able to do so.
Close contacts and household members of an individual with a positive test result must quarantine for 14 days past the last date of exposure. Close contacts of a confirmed positive case should get tested for COVID-19. A negative diagnostic COVID-19 test does not end or shorten the quarantine period. Visit the NCDOH website for a list of COVID-19 test sites: https://www.niagaracounty.com/health/Services/Public-Health-Preparedness/2019-Novel-Coronavirus-COVID-19.
Key actions to take if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case (quarantine):
•Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
•Watch for fever (100°F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
•If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19
“Isolation and quarantine are longstanding evidence-based tools that aid in reducing community spread by separating an individual from other people during a time when they could transmit disease,” Stapleton said. “The NCDOH, in partnership with the community, can reduce community transmission of COVID-19 by working together.”
Call your primary care provider with questions about your own health and for advice on managing symptoms. If you are having trouble breathing or are experiencing severe symptoms, call 9-1-1 and inform them that you are in isolation or quarantine for COVID-19.
If you have additional questions or concerns regarding isolation and/or quarantine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/isolation.html, or call the Niagara County Department of Health nursing division at 716-278-1900.
Additional resources can be found at http://www.niagaracounty.com/health and https://www.facebook.com/niagaracountyhealth.