OLEAN — Cattaraugus County’s public health director, reporting to the Board of Health on Wednesday, announced six more positive COVID-19 test results, saying “we are going in the wrong direction.”

Before the day was over, five more positive cases were announced, for a one-day high of 11 cases in the county and pushing its total to 184.

Those numbers follow six new cases reported since the weekend, while 10 new cases were reported in one day on Aug. 27.

“With all the new positive cases we’ve had in the last 1½ weeks, we are going in the wrong direction,” Dr. Kevin D. Watkins told members of the Board of Health on Wednesday. “Now, with schools opening there’s the possibility it will creep up.”

St. Bonaventure University, Jamestown Community College and more than a dozen public schools and private schools have opened or are opening soon.

The Health Department has been working with the colleges and K-12 schools to answer questions on screening, testing and identifying any positive coronavirus cases and working with schools on contact tracing, Watkins said.

Recently, the county Health Department has reported as many as 10 positive COVID-19 tests in a single day. Wednesday’s report would top that number.

Watkins, updating the board via ZOOM video conference due to the coronavirus pandemic, said there were six new COVID-19 cases to report on Wednesday, four of whom were members of the same family.

Later last month, a family of five all tested positive for COVID-19. Four or five individuals who went to an out-of-state church camp also tested positive, as did at least two people who attended the annual Sturgis, S.D. motorcycle rally last month.

Watkins said the county has administered 27,737 tests, of which 27,498 came back negative. More results are expected today. The county’s overall positive testing rate is below 1%. Four people have died.

Of the 179 residents who have tested positive, Watkins said 43 were healthcare workers, 74 were asymptomatic — or had no symptoms like fever, cough, body aches — and 56 were contacts of someone who tested positive.

The greatest concern among recent positive tests was the increasing number of residents ages 20-39.

After Watkins remarks during the lunchtime meeting, five more positive COVID-19 tests were reported to the county.

Watkins said the increase in positive COVID-19 tests has strained the county’s contact tracing and quarantining of individuals.

Western New York’s COVID-19 dashboard shows Western New York’s positive rate going up to 1.6%, which is why Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been waving a yellow flag over the increase in recent days.

Watkins listed Cattaraugus County’s seven-day rolling average of 1.1% as compared to 0.3% for Allegany County, Chautauqua County, 2.6%, Erie County 1.7% and Niagara County, 0.8%.

The county Health Department’s active positive COVID-19 caseload is now thirty four as there are one-hundred and forty six residents who have recovered from COVID-19.

Of the 11 residents who tested positive on Wednesday, nine were from the southeast corner of the county — five women and four men — all but three who had been in contact with a known COVID-19 person.

The two others were a man from the southwest corner of the county and a woman from the northeast corner, both of whom were in contact with a COVID-19 positive person, but had no symptoms.

Any resident who experiences fever, cough, shortness of breath or whole body aches should contact their health care provider, according to Watkins. They should avoid going directly to an urgent care facility or the hospital emergency room before calling.

In an effort to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, any resident interested in getting tested, can register for a test at www.cattco.org/covid-19-test or call 938-9119 or 938-2265.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)

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