Through Thursday evening, the four-county region now has four confirmed cases of coronavirus.
Ontario County Public Health announced late yesterday afternoon there are now three confirmed cases in the county, while Thursday morning, Wayne County Public Health officials said a county resident undergoing short-stay rehabilitation at the DeMay Living Center adjacent to Newark-Wayne Community Hospital tested positive for COVID-19. The health department said the patient is now in isolation at Newark-Wayne and being monitored.
In Ontario County, the first case was travel acquired. The second and third cases are described as community acquired.
One positive COVID-19 case is a student at Canandaigua Middle School, according to the school’s website. The student and family are currently under quarantine and being monitored by Ontario County Public Health. The teen is recovering and feeling better at this time.
Ontario County Public Health is in the processes of completing contact investigations of both community-acquired cases.
In a message on the Canandaigua school district’s website, Superintendent Jamie Farr said: “First and foremost, our thoughts are with the family impacted by the information released by the Department of Health this evening confirming one of our middle school students has tested positive for COVID-19. It is believed, but not confirmed, that the case was contracted when the student traveled to another part of the state a couple of weeks ago and was then in attendance at school for two days after traveling. I am happy to report that I did spend a little time on the phone with the family this afternoon and they all remain in great spirits and the student with the confirmed case is feeling much better and is nearly fully returned to good health.”
He added: “As you might guess, rumors are circulating of various members of our community being ill. Most of these are rumors and until just a short time ago, none of them were confirmed. The point we are trying to express now and from the earlier communication is that none of us should find this news surprising. It is likely that every community, as well as everyone in our own beloved community, might have or will have, at some point, an exposure to COVID-19. We will continue to be diligent and communicate as we realize this kind of news can create concerns and anxiety during a time of such uncertainty.”
Farr said he could not get into specifics of the case because of confidentiality, but he urged everyone to follow preventative guidelines.
In Wayne County, Ryan Mulhern, public health educator for the county health agency, could not provide information on the patient’s condition. The health department said it is “conducting routine tracing of the patient’s contacts.” Mulheron said there are “potential people who are connected with the positive case that are under investigative procedures, including isolation.”
DeMay Living Center and Newark-Wayne Hospital are part of the Rochester Regional Health System, which includes Rochester General Hospital.
The county health department, which is serving as the communications conduit for the case, said DeMay Living Center and Newark-Wayne Hospital “have been following, and will continue to follow, the New York State Department of Health’s guidelines to keep patients, residents and staff safe.”
The case was first announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a press briefing Thursday morning on COVID-19.
Public Health posted on its Facebook page that it “was extremely unfortunate and disheartening to us that the information was released this way, as we know you would hope for information to come from our department directly. Please remember we are doing our best as a very small department to keep up. Social media expects information instantly, but you have to keep in mind that we are working tirelessly to provide you information through correct and official channels. Thank you for your patience.”
On the Wayne County health department’s website, the agency reported 49 tests for COVID-19. Twenty-eight have come back negative, and another 20 are pending.
Cuomo said as of Thursday afternoon there were 1,769 additional cases of novel coronavirus statewide, bringing the total to 4,152 confirmed cases.
Wayne County Public Health noted that COVID-19 is spread by close contact with people who are sick. Symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath. If you have those symptoms, Mulhern said, the first step is to contact your doctor.
To protect yourself, wash your hands often with warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and avoid close contact with people who are ill.
You are advised to stay home if you are ill. Do not return to work or school until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without medication, said the health department. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash, or cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as faucet handles, door knobs and other commonly touched surfaces.
People also are urged to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 and discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits. If you can work from home, said the agency, do so as part of the social-distancing effort to reduce contact with people potentially carrying the virus.
For more information, the state Department of Health has a 24-hotline that can be reached at (888) 364-3065.
On Friday, Wayne County residents can call Public Health’s hotline at (315) 946-5700 or email email@example.com.