OLEAN — The Cattaraugus County Health Department on Monday reported 12 new COVID-19 cases among county residents since Friday.

Seven new positive test results were reported on Saturday, two more on Sunday and three on Monday, Public Health Director Dr. Kevin D. Watkins said.

“We probably will see another uptick later this week,” Watkins told the Olean Times Herald.

The 12 new cases drove the county’s total number of residents diagnosed with the coronavirus since March 202 to 5,808.

There are 43 active cases including the 12 new cases, four people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and 230 are in contact quarantine.

The increase in the number of coronavirus cases “is an indication the virus is still here,” Watkins said. “The Delta variant is taking its toll in communities across the country, including Cattaraugus County.”

Watkins said the health department “is continuing its campaign to encourage our residents to get vaccinated. It is known to reduce the severity of the virus and hospitalizations.”

He added: “We have lots of vaccine available and lots of appointments available.” Vaccination clinics are scheduled at several schools this week and next. The schedule is on the county website.

“This Delta variant is like a new ballgame with us,” Watkins said. “We need more people to come out and get vaccinated to reduce the severity of the virus. It is highly infectious. It’s infecting whole families now. The earlier form of the virus could have one person infecting two or three people. The Delta variant can infect eight people in a room. This is concerning for those who are unvaccinated and we are still seeing some breakthrough cases. Those who are vaccinated are not showing severe complications.”

The health department is offering COVID-19 vaccinations at the county fair today, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 7 p.m. The booth is located under the grandstand.

On Saturday, a drive-thru vaccination clinic will be held outside the County Building off Buffalo Street in Olean

“We’ll be going back to schools with second dose vaccines starting next week,” Watkins said. First doses of vaccine will also be available for people making appointments and walk-ins.

So who is becoming ill from COVID-19 now?

“Health care workers, whole families and individuals who have tracveled to other states,” Watkins said. “It’s just all over.”

Watkins said he hoped the upcoming surge “will not hit as hard as it did in March and April, since at least 54% of the county population has had at least one dose of vaccine.

There were three new cases in each of the four sectors (corners) of the county. The southeast now has reported 3,115 total cases, the northeast has 1,109 cases, the southwest 873 cases and the northwest 711 cases.

There have been 2,711 cases involving men, an increase of five since Friday and 3,097 women, an increase of seven.

Watkins said there are now 31,482 residents who have completed their vaccine series and 34,082 people who have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. That means there are 53.7% of the 18 and older population and 44.4% of the entire population with at least one vaccine dose.

Appointments for vaccinations can be made through the Cattaraugus County website by visiting: https://www.cattco.org/covid-vacc-info or call the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at (716) 701-3777.

Watkins said Monday’s positivity was 5%, the seven-day rolling average was 4.1% and the 14-day average was 3.2%

To register for a free COVID-19 diagnostic test through the county health department, go online to:

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

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