Nearly 1,000 students in 12 Cattaraugus County public schools have tested positive for COVID-19 since September.
Add 343 teachers and staff to the 986 students in grades K-12 who have tested positive since September and the total is 1,329 — including 271 students in seven days ending Jan. 9.
The top three school districts in terms of students COVID-19 cases and total cases in the district are Pioneer, with 186 students cases and 246 total cases, including 68 students in the last seven days; Salamanca, with 125 students cases and 184 total cases, 72 students in the past seven days; and Gowanda, with 100 students and 151 total cases, seven new students in the past seven days.
The Olean City School District has reported 69 students testing positive for COVID-19 — 18 in the last seven days — and 91 cases overall.
Other Cattaraugus County school districts with the number of students including the last seven days and total with teachers and staff:
- Allegany-Limestone: 51 students, including four in the last seven days, totaling 63 with teachers and staff.
- Portville: 88 students, including 26 in the last seven days, totaling 118 with teachers and staff.
- Hinsdale: 46 students, including four in the past seven days, totaling 64 with teachers and staff.
- Franklinville: 79 students, including 14 in the past seven days, totaling 88 with teachers and staff.
- Ellicottville: 78 students, including 19 in the past seven days, totaling 93 with teachers and staff.
- Cattaraugus-Little Valley: 85 students, including 22 in the past seven days, totaling 121 with teachers and staff.
- Randolph: 71 students, including 16 in the last seven days, totaling 92 with teachers and staff.
- West Valley: 10 students, including one in the past seven days, totaling 18 with teachers and staff.
THE CATTARAUGUS COUNTY Health Department reported 155 new residents testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday. A record 224 cases were reported last Wednesday and Friday.
The new cases pushed the total number of cases since March 2020 over the 13,000 mark.
There were also two deaths reported Monday: two women, ages 66 and 51, respectively. The deaths pushed the county’s COVID-19 toll to 219 since April 23, 2020.
The high number of cases is likely due to the omicron variant edging out the less transmissible, but more dangerous, delta variant that gripped the county in December, Dr. Kevin D. Watkins, the county’s public health director, said.
Cases have not been confirmed by genomic sequencing tests, but the numbers are rising so quickly that it is likely due to omicron, Watkins added.
“We’re asking our residents to continue to be vigilant,” he said.
More at-home COVID-19 test kits were distributed Monday at the County Office Building in Olean. The remaining boxes will be distributed Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby of the Olean building, Watkins said.
The county has received 6,000 test kits, although that is not sufficient for a county of 76,000 residents, he said. Schools also received 17,000 test kits through BOCES to be distributed to students to take home.
Those who test positive at home should notify the county health department and be prepared to quarantine at home for at least five days. The health department’s website has instructions on quarantining.
Follow CDC recommendations and the state requirement that everyone wear masks in indoor public facilities, maintain a social distance and wash your hands frequently, Watkins said.
The county’s daily positivity Monday was 13.5% and the seven-day rolling average was 12%.
“We’re still in that upward surge,” Watkins said. “This variant has really affected a large number of people. It seems to have the ability to evade our immune system.”
Watkins said only 50.5% of county residents are fully vaccinated. An undetermined number of residents have also received a vaccine booster. “Getting boosted will reduce transmission of the omicron variant,” he added.
The health department is no longer doing contact tracing of contacts of positive residents because of the widespread nature of the virus, Watkins said on Friday.
Residents who test positive are notified and asked to contact close contacts to urge them to isolate or quarantine for five days. The 10-day quarantine period was shortened by the CDC last week to five days. People should continue to wear a mask for an additional five days or test negative.
The 155 new cases Monday pushed the total to 13,112 cases. The county reported 77 at-home positive tests were included in Monday’s total. The new cases included 29 residents who had been vaccinated and 126 who were unvaccinated.
There have been 1,272 cases reported in the first 10 days of this month. That represents about 46.7% of the county total since March 2020.
The southeast part of the county has reported a total of 6,129 cases — 456 since Jan. 1. There have been 300 new cases in the southwest part of the county since Jan 1 for a total of 2,638; 288 new cases in the northeast for a total of 2,510 and 192 cases in the northwest for a total of 1,835.
There have been 664 new cases involving women since Jan. 1 for a total of 6,901 cases, and 571 cases of men for a total of 6,211.
To register for a free COVID-19 diagnostic test through the county health department, go online to:
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 if you need assistance.