A second person from Chautauqua County has now died from the COVID-19 Virus. County Executive P-J Wendel said Monday that the man, who was in his 70s, had recently contracted the virus. Wendel adds there's also one new case, bringing the total to 19 county-wide. He says it's important for all county residents to continue to follow all social distancing guidelines. Wendel says the four new cases Sunday were the largest day-to-day increase in the county since the virus was first detected last month.
Meanwhile, Wendel says they have a better understanding of Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order directing 20-percent of the unused ventilators and Personal Protective Equipment be moved to New York City, if needed. So far, there has been no declaration for taking ventilators by force. Wendel says the new case involves a man in his 40s. He says that brings the number of active cases to 10 who are now recovering. Wendel also says seven people have now recovered. He says 91 people now remain under quarantine or isolation orders. There have also been 199 negative tests so far.
There has been a slight flattening of the curve of cases of COVID-19 in New York state. However, Governor Andrew Cuomo says now is not the time to relax. Cuomo says he is extending his "stay-at-home" restrictions through April 29th and, increase fines for people violating "social distancing" orders to up to $1,000. Cuomo cited fresh evidence the outbreak-fighting rules could be helping the state avoid a worst-case catastrophe. But, he says downstate hospitals are still stressed to the breaking point.
Cuomo says there were 599 deaths reported statewide since Sunday afternoon, which is down 30 from the previous day. However, he says he wants to ramp-up "social distancing" because it's proven to work during the outbreak. However,he says people got lax, and were "irrresponsible" over the past weekend. Cuomo says the number of positive cases since the outbreak has exceeded 130,000 in the state, but he adds the number of new people entering hospitals daily has fallen, along with the number of critcally ill patients needing ventilators.
All construction projects in the city of Jamestown, unless it's a private home owner -- or property owner performing work on their own property -- are to stop immediately. That from Mayor Eddie Sundquist, who says in a printed statement that the decision was made by the Department of Development after several days of questions and clarifications from state and federal agencies. Sundquist says the only exception for construction projects is "only if it would be unsafe to allow it to remain undone and until which time it is deemed safe to shut the site." For more information, call 483-7541.
There is help available to local businesses in Chautauqua County that have had to close, or severely curtail operations due to the Coronavirus outbreak. That from Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Tranum, who says there are a pair of programs that have emerged from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus -- or CARES Act. Tranum says one is the Paycheck Protection Program, which is managed through a number of banks. He says the other is the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
Tranum says the local center, at Jamestown Community College, can be reached at 338-1024. Locally, Tranum says the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency has a new loan program to help small businesses. He says some of that money has already been doled out. The IDA can be reached at 661-8902. The 2.2-Trillion dollar CARES Act was approved by Congress... and, signed by President Trump last week.
The local group dedicated to making face masks is taking on a new initiative. Mary Rappole, one of the organizers, says they'd like to make 500 masks for Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo by the end of this week. She says, "Many people in our area have used Roswell, and we thought there would be interest." Design ideas and full information for anyone wanting to help are available at the Facebook page 'Mask Makers of Western New York.' Finished masks can be dropped off in totes at the Conduit Church on Newland Avenue or First Covenant Church on Fairmount Avenue. Cash donations for materials will also be accepted.
Two people from Jamestown have been arrested for allegedly stealing a pick-up truck in Salamanca and leading police on a pursuit with drugs in the vehicle late last Saturday night. City police say they were patrolling the area of Cherry and West 7th Street when they spotted the stolen 2007 Chevy Silverado. Officers say they tried to stop the truck, but the driver failed to comply and sped off through the city,going the wrong way on one-way streets and almost hitting several cars. Police say the truck was last seen northbound on Liberty Street -- near Falconer Street -- when it struck a parked car. The driver, 34 year-old Eric VanGiesen, tried to flee before being arrested. A search of the vehicle turned up 17-grams of concentrated cannabis and, the passenger -- 48 year-old Christopher Hewitt-- was also arrested. Van Giesen was also found to operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs. Both men were held pending arraignment.
The demand for gasoline during the Coronvirus outbreak has hit nearly a 30-year low and, that's pushing local prices at the pump closer to the $2.00 mark. Triple-A East Central's Gas Price Report says the average price in the Jamestown-area has fallen 3-cents to an average of slightly over $2.19 a gallon for regular, unleaded fuel. Triple-A says the national average is now $1.92 a gallon. That's 81-cents less than last year at this time.