Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton today 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 4 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,” said Stapleton.
Stapleton said 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,” said Stapleton. “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,” said Stapleton. “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,” said Stapleton. “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.”