Mistakes admitted surrounding first COVID-19 case in Erie County

Local News

Earlier this afternoon, the County Executive and Health Department informed residents that mistakes were made surrounding the first COVID-19 case in Erie. This leading to the infected 35-year old possibly staying active within the community. Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper talked about potential protocols that could be implemented.

The weekly news conference bringing news of how the first COVID-19 case in Erie was mishandled, from protective gear for the medical workers to the infected not being quarantined.

“The first case of COVID-19 identified was fraught with mistakes and errors. It is critical that you understand this message. It is critical that the correct action be taken.” said Melissa Lyon, Erie County Health Department.

Lyon admitting there were a lot of mistakes made surrounding the first COVID-19 case in Erie County. Lyon saying that proper precaution was not taken when collecting the sample at a primary care physician’s office. Second, the 35-year old Erie resident was not told to remain quarantined until the results came back, allowing more interaction with the community. Lastly, the Erie County Health Department was not notified of the testing.

“Unfortunately, we are aware this might be occurring in other circumstances. Had the Erie County Health Department been notified of the sample submission, our staff would have proactively responded in partnership with our health systems and providers to prevent the spread of disease to others.” Lyon said.

There were approximately five days between the test being administered and then quarantined. Lyon refusing to give details surrounding where the patient lives or could have gone.

“We will take care of the disease investigation and control this quarantine as best we can with the span of control we have right now.” Lyon said.

Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper sharing how fast the virus can spread saying one week ago, the commonwealth had 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and zero in Erie County.

Today, those numbers are 186 confirmed cases in PA with one confirmed case in Erie County. Dahlkemper adding that people in their teens, 20s and 30s are “Super Spreaders” of this virus.

“When you are out and in groups. You, our younger people are likely spreading the virus to others unknowingly. Then, that person is likely to take that virus home.” Dahlkemper said.

Dahlkemper adding the county has taken every step possible to prevent the spread, with the next steps being extreme.

“They are to shelter in place and possibly close the borders. We hope we never get to that point.” Dahlkemper said.

As for the people who came into contact with the 35-year old, Lyon saying they are doing well and so far non-symptomatic.

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Pennsylvania COVID-19 Map

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Health

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