OLEAN — The slow, but steady uptick in the number of Cattaraugus County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 continued Thursday as a 13th person was added to the list.

The latest resident to test positive was a man in his 30s from the southeastern part of the county, according to Dr. Kevin Watkins, Cattaraugus County public health director.

Three county residents remain hospitalized from COVID-19 symptoms — two in Olean General Hospital’s intensive care unit, one of whom is on a ventilator — and one in Buffalo General Hospital.

The latest resident with a positive cornavirus test had no travel history to an area with widespread COVID-19 cases, Watkins said. The man reported losing his sense of taste, had a fever, cough and was vomiting. His primary care physician recommended a COVID-19 test to the health department.

His positive test came back late Wednesday. He is quarantined with his family at their home. Health department nurses have begun tracing their contacts and assessing their health needs, Watkins said. Those contacts will be notified to quarantine as a precaution for 14 days and monitor any symptoms.

Watkins said the man had some close contacts that will be advised to go into precautionary quarantine. If they develop symptoms, they will be tested as well.

The county Health Department reported 339 persons have received coronavirus tests in the county and 302 have returned negative. Eighty-seven individuals remain in mandatory quarantine.

Watkins said that the county is experiencing one or two cases a day.

“It doesn’t look like we are plateauing or flattening the curve,” he said. “It just continues to trickle in one positive after another. COVID-19 is widespread in the community.”

More than half the positive COVID-19 cases are in the southeast section of the county. Seven of the 13 cases are from this section of the county. The northeast part of the county has four positive cases, and the southwest and northeast sections each have one.

Watkins again urged residents to heed the plea to stay at home. Residents need to stay at home and only come out for essential needs, he declared.

Avoid stores where there are a lot of people and cover up with a mask when you are out, Watkins said. It’s not necessary. Use any mask that is not essential for emergency medical personnel, he said.

“And continue to wash your hands as frequently as you can,” Watkins said.

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

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