January 14, 2022
BATH, NY -Steuben County Public Health is reporting 632 new cases of the Covid, and one covid death, a 79 year old Hornellsville woman. Those are the total numbers since Wednesday (Jan 12). However, as expected, there is no breakdown of how many cases in the towns that have Covid. That is because the New York State Health Department (to the disappointment of some Steuben County residents) has come up with a new set of rules regarding Covid-19 reporting. As a result, county health departments across the state, are not going to be researching local covid cases (contact tracing) or publishing local covid numbers.
So why is this happening? Steuben County Manager Jack Wheeler says, he believes the reason is, the state knows there’s so many more cases because of the Omicron, that county health departments are overwhelmed by the increased workload. “Case rates, case spread, really dictates the change that Omicron has essentially changed the game, as far as contact tracing,” Wheeler told Wlea News. “In a time of astronomically high spread, case rates abd contact tracing becoming determining factors. According to the folks at the state, and I have spoken with my peers in downstate counties, in places that have seen a higher spread than we have. They say, case investigations and contact tracing loses it’s effectiveness. That is because it takes about a day to get that positive case reported to us, and then we at the county level had to do the case investigations, and we’re at a point where we’re getting 300-some cases a day. Even with the augmented staff and the signing from other departments and the volunteers that we have, it’s so much that it’s just not feasible to keep up with it locally. So that’s why the state chose to take that over, because the state has hired about 6,000 additional contact tracers statewide.”