ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB)–“We are aware of unacceptable delays in our process to contact individuals who sought testing at county-run drive-thru clinics,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein.
The Erie County Department of Health says they’re acknowledging that notification policies in place in November led to unacceptable delays in positive case notifications, following an investigation into long wait times for COVID-19 results.
“That breakdown has caused unnecessary confusion and uncertainty at a time when the public needs to have complete confidence in our public health response. Our epidemiology team has examined our records closely. We estimate that 10 of the 7,819 individuals with a positive diagnostic test result in Erie County since November 1 were affected by this lapse. I apologize to everyone affected by this error,” Dr. Burstein added.
In response to the delays, the ECDOH says it has taken all available steps to expand its contract tracing team to adjust its processes to give county residents information they need to isolate.
“Anyone who has sought a test at an ECDOH drive-through site prior to November 19 who does not yet have their results should call 716-858-2929 and ask to be transferred to Epidemiology,” said Dr. Burstein. “Our epidemiology staff will provide test results and advise on steps to isolate and quarantine household contacts.”
The Office of Epidemiology will contact all patients with a positive COVID-19 test result from ECDOH drive-thru clinics within 24 hours of when those results are received going forward, officials say.
Epidemiology staff will notify patients of positive status and advise them that a contact tracer will be calling them to complete a case investigation and place their close contacts in quarantine.
All patients with a negative COVID test result from ECDOH drive-thru test sites are also contacted within 24 hours after results are received, the department of health says.
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