A mobile COVID-19 testing team was sent to Ellicottville Monday to administer tests to employees of restaurants where mini-clusters of the coronavirus were detected by Cattaraugus County Health Department contact tracers.
Also on Monday, seven more positive tests of county residents were reported, bringing the total number to 407.
The number of county residents who have died of COVID-19 remained at 18 as of Monday evening.
Dr. Kevin D. Watkins, county public health director, said the health department was following recent cases that occurred in the Ellicottville area. Contact tracers noticed several recent positive cases were from Ellicottville restaurants, he said.
The three restaurants — Ellicottville Brewing Company, The Gin Mill and Villaggio — all closed voluntarily for deep cleaning, Watkins said. They have since reopened.
Many of their employees were among those tested at the mobile testing site in the village Monday.
The restaurants continue to work with health department staff, Watkins said. The protocols are the same as with any case: Isolate new cases, conduct contact tracing and quarantine positive cases and close contacts as needed.
Once the test results are returned, health officials will have a better sense of the transmission rate. There appear to be a couple of microclusters of a few individuals each.
The cases were “enough to do an extensive investigation,” Watkins said. “We need to wait for the results to get a better assessment.”
Monday’s COVID-19 test results included four women and three men.
Two of the women were from the southeast part of the county and two others were from the northeast part. Two were symptomatic and two were asymptomatic. None of them reported being in contact with a person with COVID-19.
The men were from the southeast, southwest and northwest part of the county. Two were in contact with a known COVID-19 person and one said he had no contact with anyone with a positive. Two were symptomatic and one was asymptomatic.
The department has begun a thorough contact tracing investigation for those individuals that they have been in contact with and the places that they have visited.
Watkins said the Cattaraugus County Health Department reiterates that if any resident experiences fever, cough, shortness of breath or whole body aches they should contact their health care provider. Avoid going directly to an Urgent Care facility, or the hospital emergency room before calling.
In addition, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after using the bathroom, coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, Watkins said. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains a minimum of 60% alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, especially with unwashed hands. Disinfect commonly touched surfaces with a cleaner that is approved by the EPA against COVID-19.
In an effort to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 in the county, Watkins said any resident interested in getting tested, can register for a test at www.cattco.org/covid-19-test or call 938-9119 or 938-2265.