Tioga County grappling with increase in COVID cases

An earlier spike in cases in Chemung and Broome Counties caused an inevitable increase in COVID cases in Tioga County, with active cases increasing by 20 in just one week; the number of individuals placed in mandatory quarantine increased by 145 in one week, and the county saw one additional death due to COVID.

With the number of increases, specifically in Broome County, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo put pressure on local government’s to get their positivity rates under control, with the Commissioner of Health issuing a Section 16 Order to ensure public health compliance. With this enforcement, local governments can face penalties of up to $10,000 per day if they are unable to enforce compliance.

The governor also created a new cluster action initiative to address COVID-19 hot spots that have cropped up in Brooklyn, Queens, and Broome, Orange and Rockland Counties. For Broome County, they fall into the Yellow Zone, which is precautionary.

With Public Health on high alert, several notifications were issued throughout the week, citing locations where tracing identified a visit by a COVID positive person(s).

Some of those locations included Northern Scapes Landscaping, Crown Cork & Seal, and the Owego Nazarene Church, which had a notification issued for anyone that attended the church on Oct. 4, or who was at the other two locations to self-quarantine.

The public was also notified that, through tracing, an individual that tested positive for COVID visited the Rainbow Trail Bar & Grill in Owego, the Laundromat in Owego, Cuts & Curls by Kris in Berkshire, Chemung Canal Bank’s W. Main Street Owego branch, Metros, the John Barleycorn Tavern, The Cellar Restaurant in Owego, The Styling Corner in Owego, and Tioga Downs Casino. The timeframe of potential exposure at these locations was in September, and reported by Tioga County’s Public Health Department on Oct. 2.

In a press release from Tioga County Public Health last week, they wrote, “Help Tioga County prevent further spread of the virus by self-quarantining if you visited any of these locations. Anyone who becomes symptomatic is encouraged to contact their health care provider and their local health department.”

Also in a press release received last week, Tioga County’s Legislative Chairwoman, Martha Sauerbrey, reminded residents to do more, to be more aware, and to take precautions as they go about their daily routine.

“Wear your mask, wash your hands, stay with social distancing and we can reduce our numbers and remain healthy,” said Chairwoman Sauerbrey.

More information, to include a list of COVID-19 testing locations in the area, can be found at covid19.tiogacountyny.com or at the Tioga County Public Health Facebook page.  

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