Niagara County Public Health Director gives updates on COVID-19 response at press conference

Daniel Stapleton is on the frontline of repelling the Coronavirus in Niagara County, and at a meeting Monday morning gave relevant updates concerning the County’s first confirmed case.

Stapleton stated, “We have one positive case.  That case is in isolation right now as we speak.  She is in a local hospital while receiving care for her illness.”

The patient who contracted the virus was described as a 42-year-old female with a compromised immune system.

Concerning quarantines of individuals who may have the virus, due to interactions or travels but have not been tested, Stapleton shared, “Right now, we have 22 quarantined individuals in Niagara County.  All of those individuals are asymptomatic.”

As of now, Stapleton made clear that the County Health Department is ready to fight this battle, with a swabbing procedure developed and ready for action, but delayed supplies from the State is holding back progress.  He explained, “I am feeling a lot of frustration with the lack of adequate supplies in order to do sampling and testing.  We have ordered over 1500 swabs to perform testing.  We have not been able to receive those yet, and they are still backordered from New York State.  That’s causing us some frustration — it’s causing delays.”

Revisiting the infected patient, Stapleton stated, “Once again, she is isolated, and we are doing contact tracing right now.” 

Contact tracing is the process of figuring an isolated patient’s recent interactions and travels.  This is done to map a theory on how they contracted the illness, which can help locate others who may also be infected.

Stapleton did want it known that the Niagara County Health Department is actively swabbing those who are showing symptoms of the illness, but shared that with current supplies, doing more than 6 tests a day would overwhelm the supply.

The swabbing procedure is currently reserved for those showing specific symptoms of COVID-19, and those at the highest level of risk, such as the elderly and immunocompromised.

“We take this issue very seriously.”  Stapleton said, adding, “It’s important that people realize that we believe that there are a number of positive cases throughout Niagara County and New York State.”

 Lastly, Stapleton addressed his team’s readiness, “We stand ready to perform that swabbing.  We have a plan in place.  We need to get those supplies before we can put that plan into action.”