DELAWARE COUNTY – Delaware County’s relatively small health department staff is working to keep residents safe at a time when the county’s population is increasing.
The Public Health Department reports 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 6 of them hospitalized, two recovered and no fatalities.
The department is working closely with the three critical access hospitals in the county, O’Connor in Delhi, Delaware Valley in Walton and Margaretville Hospital.
Public Health Director Amanda Walsh says the hospitals and local EMS are reporting a need for additional PPE’s.
Walsh says a number of people have relocated to their seasonal cottages in the county, putting a potential strain on the county’s resources.
“With a rural county, you have your general population. And when you have an influx of people, you’re always going to tax resources because you’re going to have an influx in the general amount of people that are occupying that area for that time. So, I think you are going to see a tax on resources,” says Walsh.
Walsh says the department has had to expand its staff that is conducting contact investigations of positive patients and monitoring those under quarantine.
A spokesperson for the Bassett Healthcare Network which owns O’Connor says it has set up a special coronavirus screening protocol that is receiving 5,000 hotline calls since it’s inception, several hundred a day, along with 300 online screenings.
She says the hospital chain is working to conserve its PPE supplies and has so far seen a low incidence of hospitalizations across its network.
She says Bassett has not been specifically approached by state officials about either sending medical personnel to the downstate area or receiving any patients from that hard-hit region.