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Health Dept clarifies info sharing of COVID-19 tests

Local News

In light of the arrival of Cortland County’s first three cases of novel coronavirus, Public Health Director Catherine Feuerherm has clarified the department’s policy on the types of information that will be released to the community throughout the pandemic.

The Health Department originally planned on providing regular updates that included the number of tests administered and individuals asked to self-quarantine, but as the situation has developed officials say that is no longer feasible.

“The Health Department is not notified when tests are done by local health providers, additionally some County residents are seeking testing at facilities outside of Cortland County and those numbers are not shared.

Compounding the ability to share data is the delay that is occurring with testing results.

Moving forward the County will only report when it receives confirmation of a positive COVID-19 test after the patient has been notified.

The number of tests performed will not be reported as the information is unreliable and is not representative of the positivity rates in Cortland County.

If a person tests positive for COVID-19, the County Health Department Nurses will conduct an investigation with the patient to determine the number and identity of the individuals that the person may have come into contact with.

In the event of a positive test the infected individual is provided a quarantine order and are asked to provide that to their employer if that is appropriate.

Those who test positive or that are asked to self-quarantine pending a test result or possible exposure are still our family, friends, and neighbors and need to be treated as such.

The County will not be naming individuals or posting signs about the infected, it serves no purpose other than to heighten fear and paranoia.”

-Public Health Director Catherine Feuerherm.

Officials say none of the three confirmed COVID-19 cases are in patients at Guthrie Cortland Medical Center.

Members of the community should continue to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, and/or difficulty breathing.

If symptoms do develop, stay home and call your doctor for further guidance about testing.

If you are elderly, have underlying medical conditions, or are immuno-compromised, call your doctor early even if your illness is mild.

In an emergency: Call 911.

If you have symptoms and do not have a doctor, call the NYSDOH hotline: 1-888-364-3065 or visit their website.

For general Inquiries: Cortland County Hotline: 607-756-3415

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