NORWICH - During their first press conference in months, Chenango County health experts warned of a notable influx of COVID-19 cases over the last three weeks, saying that lax social behaviors are likely to blame.
Chenango County has seen nearly 40 positive virus cases this month, bringing total cases close to 200 as of Friday. Health officials said after weeks of slow growth, the spread has now increased at a rate not seen since the start of the pandemic in March.
Equally alarming, they said, is the rising number of young people not adhering to CDC guidelines who are contracting the disease and making it difficult to pinpoint sites of transmission.
“We can’t get complacent,” said Chenango County Public Health Director Marcas Flindt. “I know people are tired of social distancing and wearing masks; but we’re going to have to do this for a while longer. People need to be patient and think of their own health and the health of their loved ones.”
The department’s stern warning comes days after a COVID-19 positive patient visited two Norwich bars between 9 p.m. and midnight on July 18, risking exposure to others by not social distancing or wearing a mask. Experts urge anyone who may have been exposed to closely monitor themselves and call their doctor if they notice symptoms.
This was the first time the department of health has issued such a warning that named specific times and locations in Chenango County as a concern.
Norwich isn’t the only pin on Chenango Public Health’s map of positive cases. The department’s reported cases in every one of Chenango’s 21 townships, giving pause to local residents who are fearful of a second wave especially as more young people contract the virus statewide.