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Cayuga County Health Department: We'll contact you if you were exposed to coronavirus

Cayuga County Health Department: We'll contact you if you were exposed to coronavirus

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Kathleen Cuddy, MPH Public Health Director of the Cayuga County Health Department announces the first case of coronavirus in Cayuga County during a press conference in Auburn.

The Cayuga County Health Department on Saturday outlined its process for informing people who have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus. 

Guidelines from the state Department of Health ask counties to identify people who had "direct contact" with someone who tests positive for the coronavirus. The county health department said in a statement that it is "obligated to follow-up with these individuals." 

Individuals who didn't have close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will not be contacted, according to the health department. 

"If there is a need to contact people who were in a public space, public notification will be performed in cooperation with the health department and the public event," the agency explained. 

The health department learned Wednesday of the county's first confirmed case of COVID-19 — a man in his early 30s who became ill on Saturday, March 14. He was tested for the coronavirus and the result was reported to the health department four days later.

The man isn't a county resident but traveled here last week. He has been in mandatory isolation since being tested for COVID-19. 

Kathleen Cuddy, director of the Cayuga County Health Department, said Wednesday that contact tracing began to determine if others were exposed to the man prior to his diagnosis. 

The health department also reminded Cayuga County residents to stay home to limit potential exposure to COVID-19 and to practice self-care, which includes frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds at a time, social distancing and monitoring any symptoms of illness. 

For workers at companies designated by the state as essential businesses, they are urged to stay home if they are sick. 

"If you feel ill, and can manage your symptoms at home, remain at home," the health department added. "If symptoms worsen, contact your healthcare provider or if you have a health emergency, call 911 to go to the emergency room." 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.

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