Lack of COVID-19 Testing in Niagara County Continues; Health Director Believes Many More Infected

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Niagara County Health Director Daniel Stapleton.

 

By: Staff

The umber of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Niagara County stands at 12 after three additional individuals tested positive on Monday, March 23rd, 2020. In a statement responding to positive tests, Niagara County Health Director Daniel Stapleton stated that the County would stop contact tracing each of the positive cases and instead use the mentality that the virus is everywhere.

We will “no longer be doing full-scale community contact tracing as it has little to no clinical value at this point,” said Stapleton.

He continued, stating, “as every health and government officials has repeatedly said, act is if the virus is everywhere because it probably is. A few months ago, we had a hepatitis outbreak at a local restaurant.  Contact tracing – letting people know if you ate this restaurant at this date and time please get tested – made sense.  It does not make sense in a pandemic and it’s taking time away from other critical functions.”

Another critical problem for Niagara County residents, however, is the availability of test kits to determine whether sick individuals are infected with the virus or not. Due to the shortage in tests, Niagara County has encouraged people to self-quarantine and only contact a doctor if your symptoms are severe and match those produced by the virus.

The lack of test kits in the County has continued to today. However, Director Stapleton is hopeful that will change.

“I agree with those who have said if we had more testing available, we would have more positive cases,” said Stapleton. “We simply cannot get supplies. Limited supplies are going to what are considered hot zones in the New York City area. Most counties, including Erie, are still waiting.”

Due to the shortage in tests, Director Stapleton believes that the true number of positive COVID-19 cases in Niagara County far exceeds the 12 individuals that have been confirmed thus far.

 

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