COVID-19 Cases in First Half of December Outpace October and November
For Immediate Release
For more information, contact:
Brian Young, Deputy County Administrator
Coronavirus Outbreak In Ontario County
COVID-19 Cases in First Half of December Outpace
October and November
Canandaigua, NY – December 16, 2020 COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high in Ontario County. The escalated infection rate has county leaders and health department officials urgently warning residents not to gather during the upcoming holidays. For the first 15 days of December, the Ontario County Public Health Department reported 869 positive COVID-19 cases, already exceeding the total combined cases reported for October (220) and November (632). In addition, according to the New York Forward COVID-19 dashboard, the Finger Lakes Region is leading all ten regions of the state in positive coronavirus test results with a seven-day average of 8.2%. As a region, we are in jeopardy of entering a yellow, orange or worst case red zone, which would place additional restrictions on public gatherings and non-essential business closings. Young said that, “residents must take this very seriously, as they are the ones in control of whether or not we enter any of these cluster zones. We must reduce the spread.”
Since the pandemic started, 2,119 Ontario County residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, including 41 who died due to the virus. The recent outbreak is placing a severe strain on the county’s health department staff, responsible for managing all reported cases.
As of December 15, 514 COVID-19 positive individuals are isolated, monitored, and checked daily by the county health team members. Additionally, 870 categorized as quarantined are actively monitored by the department. A quarantine period of 10 days is required for individuals who have been in contact with those diagnosed with COVID-19.
“The outbreak is placing extreme stress on the public health department staff responsible for managing pandemic cases,” said Young. “This year, Ontario County residents must observe the holidays with extreme caution, or more people are going to get sick, and lives will be lost,” said Young.
According to Public Health Director Mary Beer, Thanksgiving gatherings and relaxed behavior around preventative health measures have resulted in the increased COVID-19 transmissions the county is currently experiencing.
“We are in a very urgent phase of the pandemic here, and people need to adjust their behavior,” said Beer. “Unfortunately, too many people are operating under a false sense of security that they will not contract or spread the virus,” said Beer.
According to Young, the county is awaiting information from the state Health Department about the timeline for distributing coronavirus vaccines in Ontario County. In the meantime, on December 15, county staff participated in a mass vaccination training, a routine drill performed annually by the health department.
“Everyone is pleased to know that a vaccine will soon be here,” said Young. “But we are not out of the woods yet. We must all continue to take this very seriously and take the steps necessary to stop the spread of this highly contagious virus. That means social gatherings should not be taking place.”