A significant increase in new cases of COVID-19 has challenged contact tracers in Genesee County and prompted the county health department to train additional staff in the role.
For the third time in a week on Friday, the the Genesee County Health Department was unable to complete contact tracing of COVID-19 cases, resulting in incomplete reporting of data on the county’s COVID-19 tracking website and in briefings provided to area media.
Public Health Educator Mari Hamilton said the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments has seen a significant increase in cases during the past few weeks. There were 70 new cases reported Thursday and Friday, and 120 since Nov. 6, or more than 20 percent of the county’s total cases since March. Contact tracing for cases announced Friday is continuing.
“To compensate for this surge, we will be utilizing additional staff who have been trained as contact tracers within the health department to complete investigations and have involved outside department staff to assist with data entry,” she said. “This should assist with delays. We remain committed to thoroughly investigate all cases to identify close contacts and reduce the spread in our communities.”
Contact tracing is a process of speaking with people who have tested positive for the virus and identifying who they have been near, so those exposed can be informed and warned to quarantine to curb further spread of the virus.
On Friday, the Genesee County Health Department issued an advisory for people who were at Batavia’s Original on Nov. 6 and 7 between 4:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. after the health department received a report that an individual who had tested positive for COVID-19 was at the restaurant at those time. While contact tracing is in progress, there may be unidentified individuals who unknowingly had contact with the positive case, the department said.
“We advise all individuals who were at Batavia’s Original on Friday or Saturday between the stated hours to monitor their symptoms for 14 days (Nov. 20 or 21). If symptoms of COVID-19 develop, contact your primary care provider to seek testing immediately and self-isolate until you receive your test results.”
Symptoms of COVID-19 include but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
For more information, visit: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/home.
Across the four-county GLOW region daily case counts have eclipsed highs reported in the spring. There were 64 new cases reported Friday and 270 active cases
Genesee County reported 30 new COVID-19 cases on Friday. However, the county reported a total of 502 cases, which is 10 less than what the county had reported on Thursday, and significantly less than the 542 cases that would be expected based on the county’s daily reporting.
When The Daily News reached out to the health department for clarification, Nola Goodrich-Kresse, public health educator/public information officer for Orleans County Public Health, said, “502 is what is being reported today. Yesterday we were given raw numbers which were not reflected in today’s data. We will update any discrepancies on Monday.”
Goodrich-Kresse also noted that the Genesee County website was having issues and the health department was unable to correct data on the COVID page.
“I don’t have any further information to clarify this,” she said. “We are doing our best to keep up. We remain committed to thoroughly investigate all cases to identify close contacts and reduce the spread in our communities.”
The new positive cases reported Thursday are residents of Alabama, Alexander, Batavia, Bergen, Elba, Le Roy, Oakfield, Pavilion, and Pembroke. The individuals are under the age of 20 and in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. One of the individuals was on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
Three people are currently hospitalized.
Recoveries increased by 19 to 341, according to data from the Genesee and Orleans County health departments.
The health department has been notified of a two positive staff members at Batavia Middle School. The individuals are on mandatory isolation until they recover. Contact tracing is in process for those who are considered close contacts and will be placed on mandatory quarantine for 14 days from the last contact with the positive individual. The school will remain open for learning unless otherwise announced.
Also, the health department has been notified of a two positive students and one positive staff member at Pavilion Middle School. The individuals are on mandatory isolation until they recover. Contact tracing is in process for those who are considered close contacts and will be placed on mandatory quarantine for 14 days from the last contact with the positive individual. The school will remain open for learning unless otherwise announced.
The state COVID-19 Report Card for school indicates the Le Roy Junior-Senior High School has this week had two new cases each in students and teachers. The data was as of Nov. 12.
According to the Genesee and Orleans Health Departments, the data for Friday includes 98 community active cases under mandatory isolation on Friday, along with 69 people under mandatory community quarantine. There have been five deaths attributed to the virus.
There have been 43,773 total tests for the virus conducted in Genesee County. The results include 43,231 negative tests for an infection rate among those tested of 1.24 percent.
Orleans County reported 12 new cases on Friday, bringing its overall total at 494, officials said.
The new positive cases reside in Albion, Shelby, Murray, Kendall and Ridgeway. They include people younger than the age of 20, and in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Three of the individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
The Health Department has received word of three Orleans County Jail inmates testing positive. No further information will be shared, the health department said.
Two positive case is hospitalized.
The number of recoveries in Orleans County increased by 14 to 262 people.
As of Friday, there were 67 active community cases under mandatory isolation, 234 people under mandatory community quarantine, and 56 total deaths.
To date, there have been 22,966 total tests conducted for county residents, with 22,472 of them negative for an infection rate of 2.15 percent among those tested.
Wyoming County reported 12 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing its overall total to 285 cases since the pandemic began, according to the Wyoming County Health Department.
Seven cases are from the northwest quadrant, which includes Attica, Bennington, Orangeville and Sheldon; one are from the southwest quadrant which includes Arcade, Eagle, Java and Wethersfield; and four from the northeast quadrant, which includes Covington, Middlebury, Perry, Warsaw. The cases include two people younger than 20 years old, three in their 20s, one in their 30s, two in their 40s, three in their 50s, and one in their 60s.
As of Friday, the county had 47 active cases under mandatory isolation, 213 people in mandatory quarantine, and 40 in precautionary quarantine after traveling out-of-state.
Fourteen new recoveries were reported, bringing the county’s total to 233. The county has had five total deaths.
A total of 27,831 tests have been conducted, with 27,546 negative results. The infection rate among those tested is 1.02 percent.
Tthe Wyoming County Health Department received notification of a testing initiative by the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision at state correctional facilities, including Attica and Wyoming Correctional Facilities. As of Friday morning, 42 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 at state correctional facilities in Wyoming County. Those positive cases are being managed by DOCCS and are not included in the county’s overall numbers.
The Livingston County Department of Public Health reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing its total to 511 cases.
The county also reported 12 recoveries, bringing that total to 444.
The number of active cases is 58, according to the county’s COVID-19 tracking map.
Active cases include 10 in Geneseo, nine cases in Mount Morris, eight cases each in Avon, Lima (up three), and Dansville (down four); four in Pifard; three each in Caledonia and Livonia (down two); two in Conesus, and single cases in Hemlock, a Wayland address in a Livingston County zip code, and a Honeoye Falls address in a Livingston County Zip Code.
SUNY Geneseo reported 15 active cases within its college community as of 4 p.m. Nov. 13, unchanged from Thursday, while 45 students are in quarantine, up nine, according to data from the college’s COVID-19 dashboard and the state’s tracking of SUNY schools.
Livingston County has administered 40,474 tests for COVID-19 among county residents. The results include 39,963 negative results, according to the county’s COVID-19 tracking map. The infection rate among those tested is 1.26 percent.
Regional Editor Ben Beagle contributed to this report.