Genesee County Health Dept Issues Monday (Mar 23) Briefing
Written by Dan Fischer on March 23, 2020
News Release Genesee Orleans County Health Departments
Health Department will issue daily briefings via News Release at 4PM daily unless there is Breaking News on the COVID-19 outbreak.
As of 2:00 p.m. today the lab-confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 have not changed in Genesee and Orleans Counties. We have the initial 1 confirmed case of COVID-19 identified in Genesee County and 1 confirmed case of COVID- 19 for Orleans County. Since the onset of testing, Genesee County has received 36 negative test results and Orleans, 34 negative test results for COVID-19.
Local contact tracing continues within our departments. The cases and stories are being built and documented. Regarding the special circumstances of the Orleans positive. Identified contacts have been notified and quarantined and swabbed as indicated. This patient became symptomatic out of state and is now in mandatory isolation at their residence in Orleans County. The patient was released from isolation from the state they were in, in line with that state’s clearance criteria. NYS clearance criteria are currently more restrictive and require negative COVID-19 results prior to being released. Swabbing through the Health Departments is warranted as part of our quarantine /isolation protocol for those who become symptomatic. We are not providing community testing at this time.
Genesee County: 7 people are under precautionary quarantine, 20 people are under mandatory quarantine, and 1 person (positive case) is under mandatory isolation.
Orleans County: 4 people are under precautionary quarantine, 10 people are under mandatory quarantine, and 1 person is under mandatory isolation (this is not a new positive case). As shared last week, the department continues to explore contacts related to the case and places any further contacts on mandatory quarantine as needed
Reminder: As discussed last week. We are placing folks on quarantine and isolation from the health department but individuals will also be asked by their provider to self- isolate if they have been swabbed until the results come back. This is very important. Number one the person is symptomatic, that’s why they’re being swabbed and secondly, we don’t want the person exposing others to illness (COVID-19 or otherwise). Please remain home if ill.
Young people may think this won’t affect them…they can get COVID-19, they can spread it to vulnerable populations and although not as likely, they can be hospitalized and possibly die from this disease, just as they can get the flu and have complications. Young people may also have underlying health issues they may not be aware of or if they smoke / vape, etc. they are putting themselves at higher risk of severe illness. This is why all people participate in social distancing even if they are not immune-compromised some people are going to react to this illness differently…it is not just the older folks, they do have the greater risk of dying or going to the hospital but people of any age can have severe illness. It is still important for all to help flatten the curve.
Swabbing / Partner Information
Remember that if you are sick to call your primary care provider. If you must go to the Emergency Room or Urgent Care – call ahead so they can prepare for your arrival.
COVID-19 swabbing/testing at the Health Departments and community is limited. If you feel you may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or healthcare facility ahead of time. DO NOT GO DIRECTLY THERE, CALL AHEAD TO GET GUIDANCE. We will be screening and focusing on our at-risk populations – elderly and immune-compromised and those with underlying health issues. Primary care providers and some health systems are offering testing in both Monroe and Erie Counties. We’re still waiting on more public/private labs to sign-on soon along with swabbing kits.
Lab testing has been bogged down and sample results are coming back slowly. Again this is a source of frustration for the public and us. We continue to push these unacceptable issues back up to the state.
Due to the current limit of swabbing kits, guidelines are in place for primary care providers to order COVID-19 swabbing. We will notify how and who can be tested at testing sites once we have the capability to set them up.
We are working closely with the Healthcare Systems to determine capacity, healthcare systems are currently working on their plans to increase bed capacity to provide higher-level medical care as needed. We will update and provide additional information on these activities as they become available.
We are asking folks to follow the orders that are put out there. If you believe an employer is violating either existing labor laws or recently issued @NYGocCuomo executive orders, please contact the @NewYorkStateAG’s office at (212) 416-8700 or Labor.Bureau@ag.ny.gov. (On the Web)
Schools: Parents are encouraged to communicate with their child’s school to learn about how food or other services will be provided during this time. If it is a school-related issue, please contact the school, not the health departments.
Be alert to scams…there are no FDA-approved at-home test kits for COVID-19.
Please refer to the county web sites for current daily updates and guidance documents. Orleans County’s web site is still down, so we ask to visit the Genesee County website or follow GOHealthNY (user names) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We are also providing updates on the Genesee Ready and Orleans Aware apps.
Both County Buildings are closed to the public. Please call ahead to handle your business over the phone or by appointment.
Flu – for the week ending March 14: Orleans, 8 flu that week and 257 for the season; Genesee, 22 cases of flu and 588 for the season!
Mental Health in both counties are available in various capacities and the Care + Crisis
The helpline is available 24/7 at 585-283-5200 or text 741741 for anxiety and stress.
We are receiving back negative COVID-19 test results from the lab, but we are still having flu – more flu and other respiratory illness as we look at the data. Keep this in mind. Everyone should be social distancing and staying home.
Continue Social Distancing and daily hygiene practices:
Hand Hygiene. Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds OR use of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Stay 6 feet away from others
Disinfect high-touch surfaces
Avoid touching your face
Avoid contact with people who are sick
Stay home when sick
Avoid crowded places
Canceling events/closure of public spaces
Encourage people to take care of themselves to take care of their immune systems.
Eat healthy – fruits & vegetables, whole grains, low fat meats, etc. o Get plenty of rest
Drink plenty of water
Stop smoking or abusing drugs and alcohol, seek appropriate help o Limit media time to help decrease stress
Keep in contact with older family members by phone, Face Time, cards and letters if you can’t visit in person
Take time for walks, play outside, do puzzles, help keep you children engaged with their studies
Start or continue a hobby
Vulnerable / Priority Populations:
Older adults (65 years of age and older) and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
Underlying medical conditions may include but are not limited to: Chronic lung disease or asthma
Weakened immune system
Chemotherapy or radiation for cancer
People who are pregnant
If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:
Stay home as much as possible. (Rely on help to get groceries/necessities such as prescriptions so you do not have to go out in public) Talk with your healthcare provider about providing 90-day prescription orders and ask your pharmacist if you can re-fill early to limit trips out in public.
Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
Keep away from others who are sick
Wash your hands often
Avoid non-essential travel
Watch for symptoms and emergency signs. If you get sick, stay home and call
According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released March 18, the majority of fatalities were persons aged 85 and older (10%-27%); persons aged 65-84 3%-11%; 1%-3% among persons aged 55-64% and less than 1% for persons aged 20-54, and no fatalities among persons 19 or younger. Different people react differently to illness with and without underlying health issues and age factored in.
We can’t stress it enough
CDC does not recommend that people who are well wearing a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses. A facemask should only be used by people who have COVID-19 and are showing symptoms. This is to protect others from the risk of getting infected.
Older patients and individuals who have severe underlying medical conditions or are immuno-compromised should contact their healthcare provider early, even if their illness is mild. Symptoms for COVID19 are shortness of breath, dry cough, and fever.
New York State Cases / Restrictions / Guidance
As of March 23, 2020, there are 2,950 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 15,168 in NYS.
At this time, roughly 18 percent of the people with COVID-19 in New York are hospitalized.
Monroe County: 57 confirmed cases in Monroe County.
Erie County: 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Erie County.
Wyoming County: 2 Confirmed COVID-19 cases
Niagara County: 6 Confirmed COVID-19 cases
Effective Saturday, March, 21st beginning at 8 p.m., all personal care services such as hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, and tattoo parlors in NYS will be mandated to close. These professions cannot conduct business while maintaining social distancing.
On Friday, March 20, 2020, Cuomo announced that he will sign an executive order mandating that 100% of the workforce must stay home (excluding essential services). This order excludes healthcare, pharmacies, grocery stores, etc.
Civil fines and mandatory closures for businesses that are not in compliance will be issued.
DOH Test Kits are NOT available. More information will be forthcoming when we receive notice.
PPE is in extremely short supply with no guidance as to when more will be supplied.
Gatherings with 50 people or more are not permitted for the next 8 weeks.