OLEAN — A sixth Cattaraugus County resident has tested positive for coronavirus, county health department officials said Tuesday.
The female resident of the northwest area of the county is a healthcare worker who is believed to have contracted the virus from a coworker who tested positive, Dr. Kevin Watkins, county public health director, reported.
The woman had a travel history of going to the Buffalo area as well, Watkins said.
The woman was tested on March 23 and the test result was negative, Watkins said. A few days later, she developed severe body aches, a fever and cough and was retested on Sunday. That result came back positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning.
The second exposure of a healthcare worker set off a cascading number of COVID-19 tests of others who were exposed, Watkins said. The contact tracing is ongoing.
The public health director said the scarcity of sample kits continues to require rationing of COVID-19 tests.
With the number of positive test results on the increase in the county and surrounding counties, community spread of the novel coronavirus is assumed.
Erie County has 499 positive COVID-19 cases and several deaths, Allegany County has nine cases and one death, and there are eight cases in Chautauqua County.
There have been 183 tests done in the county, with 147 negative results reported, Watkins said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, there were 102 residents in mandatory quarantine and 10 in precautionary quarantine, according to the Health Department’s COVID-19 map tracker. The site is at https://maps2.cattco. org/covid_19/covid_19. html.
“The resident is resting at home, and now under quarantine with her family,” Watkins said. “She will be assessed for any medical support that we can provide and we will monitor her symptoms closely.”
Watkins continues to ask our residents to bunker down, and avoid any non-essential travel, “especially to areas where there is community-wide spread of COVID-19 otherwise, you place your family and other Cattaraugus County residents at risk.”
Any resident who experiences fever, cough, shortness of breath or whole body aches should contact their health care provider and avoid going directly to an urgent care facility, or the hospital emergency room before calling.
“Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” Watkins again insisted. “This is especially important after using the bathroom, coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.”
If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains a minimum of 60% alcohol, he said. Also:
• 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.
• Stay home if you are sick (at least 24 hours after a fever ends.)
For questions or concerns, contact the Cattaraugus County Health Department at (716) 373-8050, or visit online at Cattco.org.
(Contact reporter Rick Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)