NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y. — The Niagara County Health Department announced its first positive case of COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus, Tuesday evening.
The confirmed case is a 42 year-old female with a compromised immune system. She is currently hospitalized and isolated. County officials have traced her movements since she came in contact with the virus and say they don't believe she had any other community contact.
"Our clinical team reviewed one full week before she was symptomatic to the present," Niagara County Chairman Becky Wydish said in a statement. "Based on the interviews and timeline, and thanks in large part to the affected individual’s actions to quickly quarantine herself, distance herself from family members and seek medical attention, the Niagara County Department of Health is confident she did not have any community contact during this period."
Stapleton said there are currently 34 quarantined individuals in Niagara County, all of which are not showing any symptoms. The County is awaiting the results of five tests.
County officials stress to call your primary care physician or an urgent care facility if you believe you may have been exposed to the virus.
Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said in a statement that "all of our protocols are now underway."
Feeling Frustration Over lack of Supplies
Stapleton also said he plans in place to develop a drive thru site to conduct nasal swabbing, needed to collect samples for testing. If only he could get the swabs.
"I am feeling a lot of frustration with the lack of adequate supplies in order to do the sampling to then do testing . We have ordered 1,500 swabs to perform testing, but we have not been able to receive those yet and those are still back order from New York State."
Old Hospital Being Re-purposed in Fight Against Coronavirus
Meanwhile, the former Eastern Niagara Hospital in Newfane, a 32 bed facility, which was closed late last year, will re-open as a quarantine center.
Officials say that while it may not be suitable to house cornavirus patients who need intensive care, it is ideal as a place to be able to house those who need to be under quarantine, and are unable to isolate themselves from others at their own homes.
"We could start today," said Stapelton. "We could start putting patients there in an hour... so we’re ready. We did not wait for the positive case to be announced and we did not wait for cases to grow. We started prepping for this weeks ago."