Chautauqua County Health Department Adjusts COVID-19 Protocols in Response to High Volume of Reports

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Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services

The substantial volume of COVID-19 case reports in recent days has exceeded the capacity of the County Health Department and the New York State contact tracing team to individually contact every Chautauqua County resident with a positive COVID-19 test result.

“You no longer should expect to receive a call from us, nor do you need to call us,” said Christine Schuyler, Public Health Director. “Please follow the general direction that we provide for isolation and quarantine and contact your healthcare provider for medical advice. If you are in need of isolation or quarantine documents, they are available on our website.”

The Health Department is adopting the CDC recommendations for isolation and quarantine, updated based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. As such, anyone, regardless of vaccination status, who receives a positive COVID-19 test result, either from a lab, pharmacy, medical office or an at-home test, is to self-isolate for 5 days and notify their household and close contacts. If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours) after 5 days, you can leave your house. You must continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days. If your symptoms are not improving, or you have a fever, continue to stay home until fever resolves and symptoms improve. Contact your healthcare provider for medical advice.

Close contacts of someone who has tested positive may be asked to self-quarantine, especially if not fully vaccinated, monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, and seek a COVID-19 test three to five days after exposure, or sooner if symptoms develop. The most common COVID-19 symptoms include runny nose, congestion, sore throat, cough, fever or loss of taste or smell. However, COVID-19 can cause any viral/flu-like symptoms.

If you are not vaccinated or are more than six months out from your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or more than 2 months out from your J&J vaccine and not yet boosted, you are to quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. If a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
If you have received your booster shot, you do not need to quarantine, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure.

For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure.

Persons in need of a County-issued isolation or quarantine order for employment or school can print and complete an attestation form, located at https://chqgov.com/.

Chautauqua County residents can report a positive COVID-19 at-home test result at https://chqgov.com/.

Testing

Quadrant Biosciences Laboratory is providing free COVID-19 testing for the community from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the South County Office Building in Jamestown on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and at the north campus of Jamestown Community College in Dunkirk on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Appointments are appreciated but walk-ins are welcome. A link for scheduling can be found on our county website at: https://chqgov.com/.

Chautauqua County has approved the Test To Stay Program for K-12 schools. This program is designed to keep children and staff safe in school who would otherwise be excluded following an exposure to COVID-19 at school. Any quarantined, asymptomatic, unvaccinated school-based close contact of someone with COVID-19 can avoid exclusion from school by testing negative daily for 5 days following exposure. The student/staff person remains in quarantine outside of school instruction. This Health Department continues to work closely with the schools, offering advisement and resources to assist them in implementing a Test To Stay program for their students and staff.

Best Practices For Mask Use

The significant increase in recent COVID-19 cases means that proper, consistent mask use is even more important as a protective measure for Chautauqua County residents, regardless of vaccination status.

A high quality, well-fitting mask that seals to the sides of your face, over your nose and under your chin can prevent viral particles from escaping, and reduce the risk of exposure to or transmission of COVID-19. The best mask is the one you wear consistently and properly.