UPDEGROVE: COVID-19 Outbreak at Niagara County DSS

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BY: Staff Reporter

The Niagara County Manager Rick Updegrove released the following statement after an outbreak of COVID-19 positive cases at the Department of Social Services.

The full statement is below:

Over the course of the last week, the Niagara County Department of Social Services (DSS) has had approximately a dozen positive test results of DSS employees who work on the second floor of their office on 10th Street in Niagara Falls, with several additional tests still outstanding.  After talking with employees and conducting contact tracing, the Niagara County Health Department has made the determination to quarantine all employees who work on the second floor of that building.  

This past weekend, a deep cleaning was done of the entire building.  And even though there was minimal physical interaction between the Niagara Falls and Lockport DSS offices, a deep clean was also done in the Lockport office. 

 We fully recognize the importance of our DSS employees and the role they play in ensuring that vital services are provided to the public, often to people who are most in need.  I have been in regular contact with Department of Social Services Commissioner Meghan Lutz who has been working on a plan to ensure that these services remain available to the public as we deal with this situation.   

It is important to note that Niagara County DSS does have COVID-19 protocols in place.  The public must make an appointment to meet with DSS employees unless in an emergency situation.  Any member of the public entering the building must undergo a temperature check and answer a screening questionnaire. 

DSS employees, like all county employees, were required to sign an attestation that mandated they take their temperature daily prior to coming to work and directed them not to come to work if they had a temperature over 100.4 degrees or were otherwise not feeling well.  This has been in place for several months. 

We will continue to work with and take direction from the county Department of Health on any additional steps necessary to protect the health and safety of our employees and the public.


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