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WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 17, 2020

Citing the lack of federal direction and nationwide standards, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with the governors from New Jersey and Connecticut announced Monday a regional approach to combating the novel coronavirus.  Among the actions, he says, is the closing of movie theaters, gyms and casinos effective at 8 PM last night.

As of Noon Monday, Cuomo says the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state has reached 950, including 221 new cases.  So far, there have been no confirmed cases in Chautauqua County and, the county's Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday there are four people in precautionary quarantine.


The city of Jamestown is following the lead of Chautauqua County and, has now issued a State of Emergency beginning today due to the Coronavirus outbreak.  Mayor Eddie Sundquist made the declaration during a morning press conference at City Hall Monday with School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe.  Sundquist is urging residents to be vigilant and, avoid large crowds.

Sundquist said he has directed the police department to "spot check" businesses to be in compliance with state and county public health directives, adding he's pleased to see local restaurants transitioning to curbside and "drive-thru only" status.  As for City Hall, he says all passports will be issued by the Jamestown Post Office this month, and for April.  He says they are also limiting business at City Hall in general, you're asked to go to their website at or call ahead. 


Additionally, Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas is declaring a state of emergency for the city in preparation for any actions or precautions necessary to combat COVID-19. Monday's Common Council meeting, including four public hearings, were cancelled. Fredonia Mayor Doug Essek also declared a State of Emergency for the village of Fredonia.

The Jamestown Public Schools have also closed through April 20th temporarily, but Superintendent Bret Apthorpe says they are preparing for further measures in the future if necessary.  During the City Hall press conference, Apthorpe says his team has developed a plan with three key components.  He says the first is to continue learning outside the classroom, and also deliver 5,000 meals to students.

Apthorpe says that's because more than 30-percent of district students live in poverty, and many take advantage of the school's "free lunch program."  The other component is providing essential child care for families that will have children home for the foreseeable future.  Apthorpe says you can go to the district's home page at jpsny-dot-ORG.  He says the child care will be set up at each of their nine schools so they can keep numbers down to ensure proper "social distancing."  We have put this morning's press conference at City Hall on our website at, it will appears on the "Community Spotlight" part of our Local News section.

Jamestown's Prendergast Library has announced it is closing until further notice.  Library officials this afternoon sent out a notice to the community saying they are doing this to "avoid the promotion of public gatherings."  While it will be closed, they say all late fees on returned items will be waived.  If you would like to return materials, they can be returned through the library's bookdrop located by the front entrance.  The library's reference desk can be reached at 484-7135 extention 225.  We will be taking calls from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday.  Voicemails can be left after hours.