WJTN News Headlines for Mar. 24, 2020

Chautauqua County has it's first two cases of the Coronavirus... and, it involves two north county residents.  

During a Monday afternoon press conference... County Executive P-J Wendel said one is a woman in her 30s from Dunkirk, and the other is a man in his 30s from Silver Creek.  Wendel says both had been among about three-dozen people in "precautionary quarantine." 

Wendel says both had traveled recently to the Buffalo-area, where they were exposed separately to the COVID-19 Virus.  County Health and Human Services Commissioner Christine Schuyler says she "fully expects" to see more confirmed cases and, says as those are found, they will update the public.  Schulyer adds that... with it's first two cases now confirmed... the county will get a higher priority for help from the state and federal governments.  Chautauqua County had been one of the last hold-outs in the state with no confirmed cases as the week began.  However, 36 people were in "precautionary quarantine" as of Sunday. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo is renewing his call for President Trump to envoke the Defense Production Act to mandate certain manufacturers to mass produce health care equipment, and apparel.  Cuomo says he understands the reluctance to envoke the 1950 act but, he says this would NOT be to nationalize manufacturing.  He says it's to deal with an ever-increasing number of COVID 19 cases.

Cuomo says the state has been able to ramp up testing through it's approximately 200 laboratories and, says there were just over 5,700 new cases have been reported between Sunday noon and Monday noon.  With that, he's issued an order to increase hospital beds by 50-percent state-wide.  Of the nearly 21,000 Coronavirus cases in New York state, he says 157 people have now died.  New York is the only state to have more than 100 deaths so far.  California is second with 98.

Several Chautauqua County foundations and public service organizations have established a special fund to help human service agencies that are hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.  

It took only five days,  but, the foundations, along with the south and north county United Ways, Monday launched the Chautauqua County COVID-19 Crisis Response Fund with nearly $780,000 in it.  United Way of Southern Chautauqua County Executive Director Amy Rohler says money will be doled out in two phases, the first being for meeting the needs of seniors and "at-risk" populations.  The second will deal with longer-term issues.

Chautauqua Region Community Foundation Director Tory Irgang calls it an unprecidented effort, adding they want to seed this fund with one-million dollars.  Irgang says anyone can contribute to what is now a public effort.  For more information on the Crisis Response Fund and, how to qualify for funding, go on-line to Chautauquagrants.com.

Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist is echoing Governor Cuomo’s call on manufacturers and other businesses to refocus their efforts on supplying health care equipment, and other needs.  

During last night's work session,Sundquist put out a call for local businesses to help fill a "critical shortage."  Development Director Crystal Surdyk says "during this time of crisis, we need businesses to step up.  The state is asking for help, and I know we have businesses that can do it."  They add the state is offering help to businesses to convert their facilities to produce critical medical supplies that are needed... including masks and ventilators.  If your business may be able to help out, call the Mayor's Office at 483-7600 or the Department of Development at 483-7541.

A drunk driver was arrested for driving over twice the legal limit with a child in the vehicle following a motor vehicle accident on Sunday.  

State Police were called to Miller Valley Road in Kennedy and, through investigation, learned 27 year-Brooke Lucas was traveling westbound when the car exited the roadway and struck a utility pole. Troopers say the unindentified child was sent to UPMC Hospital as a precaution, and Lucas was not hurt.  She was arrested for Leandra's Law violations after providing a breath sampled of point-19.  Lucas was released with appearance ticket for Poland Town Court at a later date.