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Social gatherings cause Ontario County COVID-19 spike

Markus Spiske

COVID-19 infections are on the rise in Ontario County and officials say social gatherings are the reason.

Interim Ontario County Administrator Brian Young said a recent contact tracing revealed an outbreak traced back to a surprise party held at a Moose Lodge in late November.

Young said Ontario County hasn’t been designated a COVID-19 micro-cluster yet, but there is concern with the recent rise in infections.

“People have taken their guard down and they have gotten the COVID fatigue,” said Young. ”It’s just hard now and the spread is much greater now than it was in March, April or May.”

He said the public health team is overwhelmed with the increased caseload and they are encouraging residents to refrain from hosting and attending social gatherings.

“A lot of our numbers are caused by the household spread or the living room spread,” said Young. “One person brings it into the household and then everybody gets it.”

Ontario County residents who are symptomatic can only get tested via their primary care physicians and at nearby urgent care centers. People who are asymtomatic can get tested at several community health centers for a fee.

Young said many people who are infected with the coronavirus are asymptomatic and Ontario County's Health Department is considering offering community testing. He said Ontario County currently doesn’t have the capacity for additional testing, but they are hoping to partner with neighboring counties to provide their residents in the future.

Ontario County has had 41 new cases of coronavirus since Sunday, with nearly 1,600 since the start of the pandemic and 38 deaths.

April Franklin is an occasional local host of WXXI's Weekend Edition.