Ontario County health director ‘very concerned’ about COVID-19 situation: ‘It’s spreading like wildfire’


CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. (WROC) — The Ontario County Public Health Director said on Thursday she’s “very concerned” about the COVID-19 situation in her county.

Ontario County reported 63 new cases Wednesday, bringing its total to 1,397. More than 300 people are isolated and more than 600 are quarantined. 15 people are in the hospital and 38 people have died.

Mary Beer is the Public Health Director. She said they’re seeing a lot of cases from Thanksgiving gatherings and other gatherings in people’s homes in general. She said they’re seeing clusters but more from events than in specific geographic areas. She said the entire county is being affected by this.

She said the increase started in September and each month since then the county’s cases have doubled.

“Last month was more cases we had seen ever if you added them all together. It’s because people aren’t being as careful, they’re getting together with friends and family, they have this false sense of security.”

She said they’re also seeing cases in nursing homes, group homes, and spreading among families in the same household.

“People are getting exposed and giving it to their loved ones across the dinner table,” Beer said.

Beer said while students have tested positive they haven’t seen spread in schools. However, schools are preparing for the possibility of going into the yellow zone.

“I’m surprised we haven’t gotten there yet. Part of it is that the numbers we report are true whole numbers and the state does it a little differently. I don’t have the ability to say what percentage we have that are all grouped together.”

She said they haven’t seen spread in businesses like gyms, hair salons, or restaurants but there have been clusters in other workplaces among coworkers.

“It’s difficult to do the contact tracing and investigation and if this keeps up we’re not able to do every single patient every single day. Stay home it’s not pretty out there and it’s going wild.”

Beer said they are hiring more people to help with contact tracing and have also started using some volunteers and an outside agency to keep up with the surge.

Beer is also warning anyone who attended a surprise party at the Moose Club on Saturday to watch for symptoms and consider getting tested. She said there have been several positive cases from people who attended that event.

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