Chenango County Health Department is advising residents they are preparing for a spike in COVID-19 cases through the holiday season by increasing contact tracing capacity.

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Between December 4-7, Chenango County reported 42 new positive tests for the coronavirus and now has 724 recorded cases since the start of the pandemic.

Officials say they are watching for more positive test results as authorities across the country have warned that people getting together to celebrate the holidays will result in a surge.

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Doctor Anthony Fauci says that the surge on top of a surge coming from the initial spike after Thanksgiving then continuing through celebrations of Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzza and New Year could mean the darkest days hitting in mid-January.

Social gatherings are being identified now as the number one spreader of COVID-19 with 65 percent of new cases coming from parties and even small “living room” gatherings.

In addition to discouraging travel and gatherings of over ten people, Chenango County Health officials urge people to maintain physical distance, wash hands and wear masks in public.

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