OLEAN — An 80-year-old man from the southeastern part of Cattaraugus County became the county’s eighth confirmed COVID-19 case. The county’s first case was reported one week ago.
In neighboring Allegany County, 13 cases were reported as of Thursday, including one death from the coronavirus.
Cattaraugus County Public Health Director Dr. Kevin Watkins said the man was admitted to Olean General Hospital after coming to the emergency room on Tuesday with a fever, body aches and fatigue. He was tested upon admission and the test result came back on Thursday.
Watkins said the man was being discharged from the hospital and will be quarantined at his home with his family, who will also be tested. He had no travel history to COVID-19 hotspots like New York City or the Buffalo area.
Community health nurses will trace his contacts since he began showing symptoms. They will also have one face-to-face contact with family members each day, scanning their temperature and checking on their medical condition. A second temperature report is obtained by telephone later each day.
Watkins said 223 county residents have been tested for COVID-19 as of Thursday. There have been 198 negative test results. There are currently 78 in mandatory quarantine and 8 in precautionary quarantine.
“We continue to trickle upward in positive COVID-19 tests,” Watkins told the Olean Times Herald. “My message is that COVID-19 is widespread in our community. You should assume everyone is positive and be prepared to minimize your travel. You should halt all nonessential travel and practice social distancing. It seems to be working in other communities.”
Of Cattaraugus County’s positive coronavirus tests, four have been residents from the northwest corner of the county, three from the southeast corner and one from the southwest corner. County health officials do not identify the city, town or village of someone who tests positive.
Those testing positive in this county range in age from a teenager to the 80-year-old man, Watkins said. “This virus can strike anyone. The elderly and the very young seem to be most vulnerable.”
In Allegany County, there were 56 residents still under quarantine on Wednesday. There have been a total of 170 in quarantine and 114 have been released.
In Buffalo and surrounding Erie County, 19 deaths and about 730 cases had been reported as of Thursday.
The Associated Press reported that among those infected in Buffalo is Common Council President Darius Pridgen, along with three of his adult children. His daughter was taken off a ventilator late Wednesday and began breathing on her own just before Pridgen went live on Facebook to offer an update from his own quarantine, frequently coughing and his voice hoarse.
“It was pretty rough for a couple of days,” he said of his daughter.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center could be used as an intensive-care hospital if needed during the projected peak in late April or early May.