County press

Niagara County Legislature Chairman Rebecca Wydysh and county Health Director Dan Stapleton discuss the county's first COVID-19 case on March 18.

Two 1-year-old babies are among the newest COVID-19 cases in Niagara County, Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton announced Monday.

Niagara County's number of cases nearly doubled over the weekend, with the total going from 28 cases on Friday to 51 on Monday.

"We've been saying all along these numbers will increase and they have," Stapleton said. "And I think we'll see that in the coming days."

The two 1-year-olds are the youngest reported COVID-19 cases in Niagara County, with 83 years old being the oldest reported individual age.

"So, it affects all ages," Stapleton said.

Stapleton again noted the important thing to take away is that younger residents are not immune from the virus.

"The key is for people who are younger thinking that they are fine just because they don’t have symptoms. They can have it and they can transfer it to an older person," Stapleton said.

Niagara County Legislature Chair Becky Wydysh, R-Lewiston, said during the briefing that contact tracing isn't really important now because as county officials have repeatedly said residents should act like it's everywhere.

"Really it’s not about where you might have been two weeks ago with someone. It’s where you are going now and who is out now," Wydysh said.

Stapleton agreed, pointing out that testing is limited.

"For every positive case you get, you can have thousands of undiagnosed or untested cases," Stapleton added.

Stapleton said right now testing is limited and only focusing on inpatients, healthcare personnel and first responders. Individuals who do not show symptoms will not be tested.

"People who do not have symptoms will not be tested," Stapleton said. "We really need to focus limited resources on the top priorities."

Wydysh asked Stapleton if the Eastern Niagara Hospital Newfane facility, which the county contracted to use for quarantines, has been used yet. Stapleton said it has not been yet.

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