The Cayuga County Health Department revealed Friday that there has been a 44% increase in COVID-19 cases over the last month, including 24 new cases in three days this week.
The new cases include 15 women, eight men and a teenager. On Wednesday, there were 10 new cases — the county's second-highest single-day total during the pandemic. There were seven cases each on Thursday and Friday.
Contact tracing investigations are complete for the Wednesday and Thursday cases, but are ongoing for the new confirmed cases on Friday.
Hospitalizations also increased this week. On Thursday, there were six people hospitalized with COVID-19 — five county residents and one out-of-county resident. By Friday, there were four residents hospitalized with the virus.
With the new positive results, the county has 51 confirmed cases in October — its highest total in a month — and 84 new cases since September 14.
"It has become more evident in recent weeks that the uptick in COVID-19 cases in our county is related to more widespread community spread/transmission of the virus," the health department wrote in its situational update Friday. "As contact tracing has revealed more and more people are participating in social gatherings including parties and a baby shower. At these gatherings social distancing was not maintained, mask wearing and mass gathering rules were not being followed."
Cayuga County has 35 active cases, which are people who tested positive for the virus and are in mandatory isolation. This is the most active cases in the county since the beginning of the pandemic. There are also 219 people in mandatory quarantine, which is a new high. These are individuals who had direct contact with positive cases.
The department said that there's not only an increasing number of contacts linked to positive cases, but people who are in quarantine have later tested positive for COVID-19.
"This is why, when doing contact tracing, it is important that people are honest about who they have been in contact with and also why it is so very important that people in mandatory quarantine adhere to the legal order issued by our department," health officials added.
Cayuga County has 269 confirmed COVID-19 cases since mid-March, 229 of which have been discharged from mandatory isolation after recovering from their illness. There have been four deaths related to the virus, according to the health department.
Because of the uptick, the department reminded residents to stay home if they're sick, maintain social distancing while indoors and outdoors, wear a face covering when safe distancing can't be maintained and limit attendance at social gatherings.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.
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