COVID-19 spike in the province: updates to contact tracing, isolation and quarantine protocols
COVID-19 peak in the province
Health department updates data and encourages vaccination
Contact tracing, isolation and quarantine protocol updates announced
MAYVILLE, NY: – The Chautauqua County Health Department (CCHD) provides an update on COVID-19 data for the week ending November 20. Chautauqua County is currently experiencing increased rates of COVID-19, including hospitalizations and the highest rates of infections among school-aged children.
“The Delta strain of the coronavirus is very contagious and especially makes those who are not vaccinated very, very sick,” said Christine Schuyler, County Public Health Director. “I am saddened and frustrated to see so many people struggling to breathe, being hospitalized, on a ventilator and many survivors facing long-term health effects. If you’re not vaccinated, you’re really taking a chance. ”
CCHD and the Chautauqua County Board of Health strongly recommend vaccination and boosters for anyone who is eligible and encourage everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask in indoor public areas, wash hands regularly, and at home and away keep from others when they are sick.
Unvaccinated people remain responsible for the vast majority of severe cases, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. Data shows that immunity in people infected with COVID-19 declines over time and that COVID-19 vaccination can provide a higher, more robust and consistent level of immunity to protect people against COVID-19 than antibodies against infection alone. This is why those who have had a COVID-19 infection still need to be vaccinated 3 months after their infection. Vaccination options, including for children and boosters, are available throughout the province. Visit the COVID-19 page of https://chqgov.com/ to find a vaccination center near you.
On Nov. 23, 50 people were admitted to Chautauqua County hospitals with COVID-19, the majority of whom were in the 54-64 age bracket. This does not include Chautauqua County residents hospitalized outside of Chautauqua County, such as in Pennsylvania’s Erie or Warren counties or Erie County, NY. was on January 13, 2021 57 people. Our province is approaching that peak this week.
Breeanne Agett, epidemiologist at CCHD, has compiled the county’s weekly dashboard report which can be viewed in full on the COVID-19 page of https://chqgov.com/. As of November 21, 2021, 59.9% of the total population of the province has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine; 53.9% are fully vaccinated. The rates are 68.1% and 62% for 12 years and older; 69.9% and 63.6% for 18 years and older; and 91.7% and 81.2%, respectively, for over-65s. Of the COVID-19 cases reported since August 1, 2021, 56% are unvaccinated, 22% have unknown vaccination status, 15% are fully vaccinated and 7% are partially vaccinated. Vaccination status will not be known if the interview is not completed by the time the positive case is followed or if staff are unable to contact the case.
In the week ending Nov. 20, an average of 94.7 new COVID-19 cases had been reported for Chautauqua County, resulting in a number of 522.4 new cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days. This figure is more than five times higher than the “High Community Transmission” threshold used by the CDC as a benchmark for making community recommendations. The CDC recommends wearing masks in public settings, regardless of vaccination status, when communities experience high transmission.
The number of cases is approaching that of January 2021, our highest to date. With the holidays approaching, cases are expected to continue to increase in the coming weeks.
In accordance with CDC guidelines, effective Monday, November 29, 2021, the CCHD will prioritize case study interviews of people who tested positive for or were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six (6) days, based on the date of testing or the onset of symptoms. Contact tracing efforts will target household contacts and people living, working or visiting residential facilities, high-density workplaces, schools or other institutions or events with potentially widespread transmission of COVID-19. The most common place for clusters of infections is in a person’s home.
“Contact tracing is part of a containment strategy to stop the spread of COVID-19, but it is one, and only one, layer of intervention to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Schuyler said. “With such high community carryover, it has become a less effective strategy for identifying and breaking the transfer chains and we need to prioritize our case investigations.”
Any person who tests positive for COVID-19 must be in isolation for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or the date the test was obtained if there are no symptoms. Due to the intense increase in the number of cases, there is a delay between the time when some people discover they have a positive COVID-19 test result and the time when the CCHD can call them to explain isolation and inform their closest contacts on the to notify. Therefore, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should tell their close contacts and household contacts to go into quarantine.
All individuals should contact their healthcare provider for medical advice and symptom monitoring if diagnosed with COVID-19.
If you are in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, you should be quarantined unless you are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms.
The County Public Health Director’s decision for quarantine/isolation can be found on the COVID-19 page of: https://chqgov.com/.
Change in quarantine requirements
Also in accordance with CDC guidelines and effective Monday, November 29, 2021, Chautauqua County residents who are in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person and have not been fully vaccinated, after seven full days (i.e. Day 8) after the last COVID-19 exposure under certain conditions:
- A COVID-19 test with a sample collected and tested on Day 5 or later after the last exposure is negative; and,
- No symptoms are reported during daily monitoring
The quarantine cannot be stopped until after Day 7 (Day 8) is completed. Acceptable COVID-19 tests are NAAT (PCR) tests or antigen tests. View the document Release from quarantine with COVID-19 test.
With this strategy, CDC estimates that the risk of spreading infection after quarantine is relatively low, between 5-12%. Individuals released from quarantine early are strongly encouraged to continue to monitor symptoms and wear a mask around others for two weeks after their last exposure date.
The CCHD has also added two AFFIRMATION documents to its website that individuals can provide to workplaces, schools or for travel confirming their own quarantine or isolation periods. These forms may be used for Isolation or Quarantine Release or for NY Paid Family Leave COVID-19 claims as if it were an individual Order for Isolation or Quarantine by the Chautauqua County Public Health Director and can be accessed on the COVID-19 page of https://chqgov.com/. Provincial residents do NOT must call the health department to be released from quarantine or isolation. They must be willing to show a negative test result from day 5 of quarantine or thereafter if requested by a workplace or school.
Positive home COVID-19 test results must be reported to CCHD by calling 716-753-4491 or by using the online reporting form found on the COVID-19 page of https://chqgov.com/ Individuals who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be quarantined as long as they remain symptom-free.