The Delaware County Department of Public Health reported a total of five laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday.

That number excludes three case investigations transferred to other counties where the individuals are actually living, according to a media release. Two patients are recovering safely while isolating at home in Delaware County. Three people are isolated and receiving medical care in a hospital, the release said.

There are eight people under mandatory quarantine and five people under precautionary quarantine. There have been 88 people tested; 14 with tests pending; and 66 negative results, according to the release.

Officials warned that confirmed cases does not mean the total number of cases. Because access to testing is limited, the number of confirmed cases does not reflect the current spread of COVID-19. "Releasing the town where the positive (patient) lives does not ensure your protection or decrease your exposure risk to COVID-19," the release said. "With this in mind, we strongly recommend everyone to continue social distancing to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19."

In a Thursday media release, the Delaware County Board of Supervisors explained why the county isn't releasing town locations where there are COVID-19 cases, like some neighboring counties are doing.

"This decision was not made lightly and only after consultation with the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Association of Counties," the release read. "The State discourages this type of information release, especially in small communities like Delaware County, because it can inadvertently identify a person that is sick."

Other communities that have released this information are now facing legal action from those people that were identified in this way, according to the release. The Board of Supervisors acknowledged that knowing where the cases are located may make people feel more protected from possible exposure. However, the cases that are now being spread in the state, including small upstate communities, are through community transmission, according to the release. Community transmission means the source of infection is unknown.

"More and more patients are unable to identify where they were exposed to the virus as part of the contact investigation," the release read. "In some cases, throughout upstate New York there have been no known contacts with others that tested positive for COVID-19 nor were there exposures from large gatherings or community events. That means the virus is wide spread and any person can be exposed. To protect yourself we are advising you to assume everyone is a possible carrier and all precautions regarding social distancing should be taken."

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