Health Department Update March 24, 2020: Still only one confirmed COVID-19 case in Genesee County
- As of 2 p.m. today the lab-confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 are now two new positives for Orleans County and still one confirmed case for Genesee County. We have the initial one confirmed case of COVID-19 identified in Genesee County and now have three confirmed cases of COVID-19 for Orleans County. Since the onset of testing, Genesee County has received 44 negative test results, and Orleans 43 negative test results, for COVID-19.
- Orleans County: Four people are under precautionary quarantine; 13 people are under mandatory quarantine; and three people are under mandatory isolation -- one of whom is hospitalized and two are recovering at home. The new positive cases reside in the center part of the county and are not associated. One of the individuals is over 65 and the other is younger than 65. The contact tracing has been initiated for the new cases. Known contacts to these two cases have already been placed under mandatory quarantine and will be swabbed if indicated. If a person is identified as a contact, they will be notified by the Health Department.
- Genesee County: Seven people are under precautionary quarantine; 21 people are under mandatory quarantine; and one person (positive case) is under mandatory isolation at home and is recovering.
- “We will start to see our numbers increase moving forward. We expect to see an increase in local cases due to increased swabbing and testing as this is in line with the reality of community spread,” said Paul Pettit, director of Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments.
- As we receive more test results, local contact tracing will continue within our departments. The cases and stories are being built and documented. Contact tracing is determined the day the identified positive case had symptoms. Identified contacts are notified by the local health department, quarantined and if warranted, swabbed as indicated. Currently, NYS clearance criteria require two negative COVID-19 swabbing results prior to being released. Swabbing through the health departments is warranted as part of our quarantine/isolation protocol for those who become symptomatic. We are not providing community testing at this time.
- A reminder as discussed last week. We are placing individuals on quarantine and isolation from the health department but individuals will also be asked by their provider to self-isolate if they have been swabbed until the results come back. Once the county receives test results from the state (whether the swabbing occurred at primary care provider or through contact with the health department) it is then determined whether the individual remains on quarantine, released or is changed to mandatory isolation (for positive swab results) per the NYS guidance. This is very important. Number one, the person tested because they were symptomatic, that’s why they’re being swabbed, and secondly, we don’t want the person exposing others to illness (COVID-19 or otherwise). Please remain home if ill, with all of the directives regarding social distancing that are still be in place, especially if a person has a negative COVID-19 result. The flu and COVID-19 are still transmittable and people should continue to remain home and limiting contact with others. Do not be afraid of people because they may be coughing or sneezing, they may have allergies, but continue to keep your distance (at least 6 feet).
- This week, United Memorial Medical Center completed the assembly and installation of a series of tents outside the hospital's Emergency Department. This is a multi-tent system that will act as an extension of their primary care offices. Additional details will follow as the project progresses.
- On Monday, March 23rd, hospitals in NYS were mandated to increase their capacity by 50 percent; although, the Governor urged hospitals to consider increasing their capacity by 100 percent.
- Phone banks have been set up in both counties to assist with the overflow of calls. Callers will be asked about the nature of their call and the staff will triage and forward the calls as appropriate. We encourage businesses, to contact the Department of Labor if they have questions about their business operations.
- COVID-19 swabbing/testing at the Health Departments and community continues to be limited. If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE. We will be screening and focusing on our at-risk populations – elderly and immune-compromised and those with underlying health issues. Primary care providers and some health systems are offering testing in both Monroe and Erie counties. We’re still waiting on more public/private labs to sign-on soon along with swabbing kits.
- Lab testing has been bogged down and sample results are coming back slowly. Again this is a source of frustration for the public and us. We continue to push these unacceptable issues back up to the state.
- We are asking individuals to follow the orders that are put out there. If you believe an employer is violating either existing labor laws or recently issued @NYGocCuomo executive orders, please contact the @NewYorkStateAG's office at (212) 416-8700 or [email protected].
NEW YORK STATE CASES / RESTRICTIONS / GUIDANCE
- As of March 24, 2020, at 11 a.m. according to Governor Andrew Cuomo there are 4,790 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 25,665 in New York State.
- Monroe County: 96 confirmed cases in Monroe County.
- Erie County: 107 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Erie County.
- Wyoming County: Four Confirmed COVID-19 cases.
- Niagara County: 12 Confirmed COVID-19 cases.
- Effective Saturday, March, 21st beginning at 8 p.m., all personal care services such as hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and tattoo/piercing parlors in NYS will be mandated to close. These professions cannot conduct business while maintaining social distancing.
- On Friday, March 20, 2020, Cuomo announced that he will sign an executive order mandating that 100 percent of the workforce must stay home (excluding essential services). This order excludes healthcare, pharmacies, grocery stores, etc.
- Civil fines and mandatory closures for a business that are not in compliance will be issued.
- DOH Test Kits are NOT available. More information will be forthcoming when we receive notice.
- PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is in extremely short supply with no guidance as to when more will be supplied.
- Gatherings with 50 people or more are not permitted for the next eight weeks.
- Enacting Matilda’s Law to protect New Yorkers age 70+ and those with compromised immune systems:
- Remain indoors;
- Can go outside for solitary exercise;
- Prescreen all visitors by taking their temperature;
- Wear a mask in the company of others;
- Stay at least 6 feet from others;
- Do not take public transportation unless urgent and absolutely necessary.
GENERAL HEALTH REMINDERS / INFORMATION
Flu – for the week ending March 14: Orleans -- 8 flu that week and 257 for the season; Genesee – 22 cases of flu and 588 for the season! Statewide cases during this time frame 6,075 with total NYS cases for the season to date, 153,293. Compared to COVID-19 the risk of the flu and what many people may be experiencing is higher.
We are receiving back negative COVID-19 test results from the lab, but we are still having flu – more flu and other respiratory illness as we look at the data. Keep this in mind. Everyone should be social distancing and staying home.
- Mental Health in both counties are available in various capacities and the Care + Crisis.
The helpline is available 24/7 at 585-283-5200 or text 741741 for anxiety and stress.
- Be alert to scams…there are no FDA-approved at-home test kits for COVID-19.
- Please refer to the county websites for current daily updates and guidance documents. Orleans County’s website is still down, so we ask to visit the Genesee County website or follow GOHealthNY (user names) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We are also providing updates on the Genesee Ready and Orleans Aware apps.
- Remember that if you are sick to call your primary care provider. If you must go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care – call ahead so they can prepare for your arrival.
Continue Social Distancing and daily hygiene practices:
- Hand Hygiene. Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds OR use of hand sanitizer with at least 60-percent alcohol;
- Stay 6 feet away from others;
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces;
- Avoid touching your face;
- Avoid contact with people who are sick;
- Stay home when sick;
- Avoid crowded places;
- Canceling events/closure of public spaces;
- Encourage people to take care of themselves to take care of their immune systems:
- Eat healthy – fruits & vegetables, whole grains, low fat meats, etc.;
- Get plenty of rest;
- Drink plenty of water;
- Stop smoking or abusing drugs and alcohol, seek appropriate help;
- Limit media time to help decrease stress;
- Keep in contact with older family members by phone, Face Time, cards and letters if you can’t visit in person;
- Take time for walks, play outside, do puzzles, help keep you children engaged with their studies;
- Start or continue a hobby.
Vulnerable / Priority Populations
- Older adults (65 years of age and older) and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
- Underlying medical conditions may include but are not limited to:
- Chronic lung disease or asthma
- Weakened immune system
- Chemotherapy or radiation for cancer
- Women who are pregnant
If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:
- Stay home as much as possible. (Rely on help to get groceries/necessities such as prescriptions so you do not have to go out in public). Talk with your healthcare provider about providing 90-day prescription orders and ask your pharmacist if you can refill early to limit trips out in public.
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- Keep away from others who are sick
- Wash your hands often
- Avoid nonessential travel
- Watch for symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay home and call your doctor.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wearing a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses. A face mask should only be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.
- Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild. Symptoms for COVID-19 are shortness of breath, dry cough, and fever.