The Cattaraugus County Health Department reported eight new COVID-19 cases in the past two days — more than the number of cases between July 1 and Monday.

Dr. Kevin D. Watkins, Cattaraugus County’s public health director, said there were three residents who tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday and five more on Wednesday.

Until Tuesday, there had only been four new cases of COVID-19 reported this month.

Watkins said all the cases were travel-related. Four of the cases were within a family that attended a week-long church camp in Pennsylvania, three cases were a family that traveled to Central New York to visit another family member and one was a traveler who recently returned from Michigan.

The eight new cases over the past two days pushed the number of residents who tested positive this month to 12. One person died this month from COVID-19.

There have now been 5,739 cases in Cattaraugus County since March 2020. There have been 108 deaths.

Wednesday’s five new cases brought the number of active cases to 14. There are four residents hospitalized and 36 in contact quarantine.

There have now been 3,086 cases of COVID-19 in the southeast part of the county, where 53.8% of the cases have been reported. People over age 60 represent about 25% of all cases.

The Northeast part of the county accounts for 1,093 cases, the southwest 862 cases and northwest 698 cases.

The virus has affected younger residents more than older residents in the county. Residents under 30 represent more than a third of all cases. When those under 40 are added in, it is nearly half of all residents.

The uptick, which mirrors the situation in the state and in Western New York, has been a concern for Watkins, particularly as the Delta variant of the coronavirus begins to spread more quickly.

The variant is responsible for more than half of new COVID-19 cases nationwide and has caused a surge in cases among the unvaccinated in many states. It spreads more easily and can make people sicker. The vaccines are effective at keeping people from getting very sick from the Delta variant and out of the hospital.

Watkins said earlier this week that the Delta variant had not been confirmed in Cattaraugus County, but that since it was on the rise in the state and had been reported in Erie County, it was likely in Cattaraugus County.

New cases in the county over the past month have affected people who are not vaccinated.

The county’s daily positivity on Wednesday was 2.8%, the seven-day rolling average was 0.4% and the 14-day average was 0.5%

There are 30,764 residents who have completed their vaccine series and 33,122 with at least one vaccine dose, Watkins said. That’s 52.5% of the 18 and older population with at least one dose and 43.1% of the entire population.

Appointments for vaccinations can be made through the Cattaraugus County website by visiting: https://www.cattco.org/covid-vacc-info or call the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at (716) 701-3777.

(Contact county reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com)