The Cattaraugus County Health Department has established a pop-up COVID-19 testing site in Allegany and may use the site for mass testing, Health Director Dr. Kevin Watkins told TAPinto Greater Olean Monday.

The county plans to test 13 people on Monday at the Allegany site, located at the corner of Fourth and Maple streets.

“We asked those 13 patients to show up to that site,” Watkins said. “It’s a pre-run for a potential testing site we are going to use in the future.”

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Since Thursday, the number of Cattaraugus County coronavirus cases has doubled from 13 to 26.  The greatest daily spike occurred Sunday when the county announced seven new cases.

Watkins said the increase is due in part to direct contact and family transmission. 

“We’re seeing a lot of direct contact through known positive COVID-19 persons,” Watkins said. “A lot of them have had contact with family members.” 

In Cattaraugus County, the youngest person infected with COVID-19 is 11, Watkins said. A number of people who are older than 80 years old have been infected.

Since Friday, four Cattaraugus County health care workers have tested positive for COVID-19, including a staff member at Olean General Hospital and an employee at the Machias campus of the Pines Healthcare & Rehabilitation Facilities.

Because a nursing home employee is infected, a number of precautionary measures have been put into place in order to protect residents and employees there, Watkins said.

“First, all employees are being screened twice daily for temperature or any type of respiratory symptoms that they might be expressing,” he said. “In addition to that, they are all required to wear masks while at work so that they cannot contract and or spread the virus to residents or colleagues. They [employees] are wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment.”

Watkins said the department of health supplied the Cattaraugus County nursing homes with personal protective equipment. 

“Fortunately for our nursing homes here in the county, we have been able to supply them with at least a three-day stock of PPE at this particular time,” he said.

In Steuben County, the Hornell Gardens Nursing home in Hornell, New York, conducted testing for all residents and employees. A total of 46 individuals tested positive for COVID-19.

Watkins said there are no plans at this time to conduct mass testing at the Pines. 

“We would test patients if they became symptomatic or if they fit the criteria necessary for us to test them,” he said. “As far as employees are concerned, of course we would test employees who have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.”

Watkins continued, “For the one employee who tested positive, we have been in contact with her direct contacts. We have offered them tests, and we will continue to monitor any symptoms that they may express.”

Cattaraugus County is still limited in regard to the amount of tests it can administer, Watkins said. The tests, for now, will be prioritized for health care workers, first responders and those who are in the hospital or who are exhibiting symptoms.

Sidebar: Allegany-Limestone Superintendent Shares Information About COVID-19 Testing Site

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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