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.

In discussing Niagara County's first confirmed case of COVID-19 early Wednesday, county Public Health Director Dan Stapleton expressed frustration over the general pace of testing locally.

During a press conference in Lockport, Stapleton said the first individual to test positive in Niagara County was a 42-year-old female with a compromised immune system. Upon questioning by a Union-Sun & Journal reporter, county officials confirmed the current location of the woman. She is in isolation at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

County officials said the person is not one of the 14 who was under quarantine as of Tuesday.

Stapleton said county officials are now in the process of doing "contact tracing," in which they work to identify relatives and other individuals who may have been in contact with the woman who tested positive.

In discussing the county's current testing situation, Stapleton said the county ordered more than 1,500 swabs for tests, but have not yet been able to get them as they are back ordered from New York state.

Stapleton said tests are continuing to be done, however he said he would like to see the pace of testing increased.

"It is causing us some frustration," he said. "That's causing us some delays. Don't get me wrong, people are getting tested, it's just not at the level it needs to be."

County officials stressed that they are anticipating more cases to be confirmed in Niagara County in the coming days and weeks.

"The inevitable has been confirmed but as you know we have been operating as if COVID-19 was already here because we knew that it was," said Niagara County Legislature Chairwoman Becky Wydysh, R-Lewiston.

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