OLEAN, NY — An Olean General Hospital staff member has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a press release issued Friday by Upper Allegheny Health System Communications Specialist Janene Coldren. 

The staff member, who works in patient care, is currently in good condition, according to the release. The hospital, along with the Cattaraugus County Department of Health, will conduct a thorough contact tracing to determine who she may have come into contact with at the hospital and in the community. 

“This is unfortunate, but not unexpected, as this pandemic is wreaking havoc in the health care industry throughout the world," Jeff Zewe, an RN who is president and CEO of UAHS, OMG and Bradford Regional Medical Center, stated in the release.

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“Sadly, most hospitals have had infected staff and in some situations numerous staff have been impacted,” Zewe said. “There are no words to express our gratitude for the courage and dedication brought to bear by our hospital staff. They are truly warriors in the war against this invisible enemy.”

According to the release, OGH arranges testing for staff members who show symptoms of COVID-19. Should a staff member test positive for COVID-19, he or she is immediately removed from service until they are symptom free.

UAHS Senior Vice President of Quality and Professional Affairs Dr. William Mills explained in the release that Olean General sees no reason to test all of its employees at this time, since COVID-19 has an incubation period of 14 days.

“Testing employees who are not symptomatic can prove ineffective since people could test negative today and tomorrow become symptomatic," Mills stated. "In addition, it’s an ineffective use of our limited testing kits.”

In an effort to ease nerves, the OGH release included a reminder to employees that 80 percent of COVID-19 cases are mild and that treatment is symptomatic. For now, Olean General Hospital employees will continue to take COVID-19 precautions in the workplace. 

The release concluded with the following: “There are no specific medications or vaccines for COVID-19. Staff are frequently reminded to wear their masks at all times, monitor their temperature twice a day, wash their hands before and after every patient contact and frequently throughout the day, and report symptoms to their manager immediately.” 

Cattaraugus County has 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the county's interactive map.

For more information on the Coronavirus in the Greater Olean area, visit  TAPinto Greater Olean's Coronavirus Updates page, which is updated continuously.

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