WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 23, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is urging President Trump to use his authority to order manufacturer's to make more health care equipment and apparel necessary to combat the Coronavirus outbreak.  During his Sunday press conference in Albany... Cuomo said having it done voluntarily has drastically driven up the price, and there's still a short supply.  He says the president can do this under the Defense Production Act of 1950.

Cuomo says the number of deaths in the state from the COVID 19 outbreak has now exceeded 100... the most in the nation.  Most have been centralized in the New York City Metro area.  He says... while we don't know if this situation is going to be around for 4 or 8 months... the nation will get through this.  Cuomo's order banning 100-percent of "non-essential" workers took effect last night.  He says there are now just over 15,000 cases reported in New York state.  Cuomo says the state will be receiving federal money through the National Disaster Declaration approved by the president. 

All Jamestown City offices will be closed effective this morning to comply with Governor Cuomo's order to keep 100-percent of workers in non-essential jobs home during the COVID 19 outbreak.  In a weekend press release... Mayor Eddie Sundquist says while several employees won't be reporting to work... the police and fire departments will remain "fully-staffed."  Sundquist says some City employees will remain on call and all of those who can work from home will.  Employees will be checking department voicemail and will have access to email during this time.  There are new protocols for the Jamestown Police Department... and, they urge all non-emergency calls to go to dispatch... where they will be asked a series of health-related questions.  Officers will be observing social distance rules when they are out in the City.  City Hall will remain open for clients of the county's Department of Mental Hygiene... and, to make an appointment, call 661-8330.

While the number of new COVID-19 cases in New York state continue to increase... there are still none at this time in Chautauqua County.  That from County Health and Human Services Commissioner Christine Schuyler... who says the county's COVID-19 Response team met Sunday to evaluate the local situation.  Late last week... Schuyler called on local providers to give testing priority to those most at risk.

Schuyler says there are currently 36 people in precautionary quarantine status, and are being monitored daily.  However... she says they don't have an accurate number of individuals being tested for COVID-19 because not all health care providers are giving out that information.  Interim County Executive P-J Wendel says the state's new, 100-percent workforce reductions take effect for non-essential businesses.  However... there are several considered essential... including health care operations, utilities, telecommunications, food processing, grocery stores, and pharmacies.  In addition... Wendel says essential services also include trash collection, mail and shipping services, and the news media.  He says other details can be found on the Empire State Development's website. 

Despite the current restrictions... members of First Covenant and First Presbyterian churches in Jamestown found a way to gather Sunday... a 'drive-in' service conducted in the churches' side by side parking lots downtown.  Speaking by low-power FM radio to parishoners in their vehicles, Pastor Bob Hagel of First Presbyterian encouraged the faithful to do 'little things' like reaching out to neighbors, and listening to the advice of healthcare professionals.  Adam Rohler of First Covenant said, "While you can't change what's happening with the coronavirus, you can change your outlook on life... you have a choice."  The service concluded with an 'amen' of car horns.

Noted area surgeon Burt Rappole marked his 80th birthday on Sunday.  His wife Mary says a friend suggested a way for former patients to celebrate... sewing 250 face masks to be sent to New York City.  Rappole received his training at Bellevue Hospital in New York.   Mary Rappole says there are youtube videos that show how the masks can be made.  They are being collected in totes outside Zion Covenent Church on Fairmount Avenue near Jamestown, and at Randolph United Methodist Church.  You may email her for more information at MaryRappole@gmail.com.