WJTN NEWS HEADLINES FOR MAY 18, 2020


There are several new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 Virus being reported from Chautauqua County last weekend.  County Executive P-J Wendel says four new cases were added on Saturday... while three more were added Sunday for a total of 53 in the county.  Wendel says the three new cases are two young adult males, and a woman in her 50s.  He says there are now 14 active cases, with those people now recovering.  Wendel adds there are now 35 people who have recovered... and, there are now 214 cases that are under quarantine or isolation orders and are being monitored. 

Protesters again took to the street on a sunny May afternoon in Jamestown in opposition to the Western New York region remaining under "stay-at-home" orders from Governor Cuomo.  More than 60 people were on hand at Dow Park -- saying that Chautauqua County should be considered separately from the Buffalo-area because the county's numbers are good enough to open.  Many motorists honked their horns as the protestors held signs and flags on the sidewalk.  Organizer Garrit Cain says they were there to give business owners a change to talk about how the shut-down has impacted them.  One was Kya Chadwick from Saphire Salon in Frewsburg... who feels it's more about the goverment having more power.  Saturday's protest was peaceful... and, featured several anti-Cuomo signs, and some pro-Trump signs.  Local and state legislators say Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties should be considered a "sub-region" that could reopen as part of Phase-One because they all meet the criteria.

Western New York may soon begin the planned process of 'opening up' from the coronavirus shutdown.   Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke about it during his Sunday news conference. All that's needed now is to get enough 'contact tracers' in place...if the number of cases begins to surge.  The area had lagged in the categories related to hospital admissions... but those two metrics were met over the weekend.  It's unclear as to exactly what date 'phase one' could start here... but when it does, manufacturing and construction could get underway again.  


As calls grow nationwide for mandatory coronavirus testing in nursing homes, New York facilities are sounding alarms about the state's ambitious new demand to test roughly 185,000 workers twice a week.  Administrators worry there won't be enough test kits.... and, they have also questioned who will cover an expense estimated around $150 per test.  One is Heritage Ministries' Chief Clinical Officer Jeremy Rutter... says there are two issues.  Rutter says the cost for nursing homes... on average... could run between $50,000 and $75,000 a week.  However, the bigger problem is going to be -- if there's an outbreak and several employees go into quarantine, will there be enough staff to cover?  That's why, starting this Wednesday, Heritage is temporarily halting new admissions.  State officials have suggested the homes could send workers to free state testing sites. 

The city of Jamestown has extended it's State of Emergency another 30 days beginning last Saturday... when Mayor Eddie Sundquist's previous state of Emergency expried.  The mayor announced that City Hall remains closed to the the public... public garages will be closed... and, there will be no downtown parking enforcement through at least May 31st.  Monthly alternate parking regulations are still in effect. 


Local Congressman Tom Reed's opponent in the race for New York's 23rd District seat is blasting Reed for the way he is handling the COVID-19 pandemic.  During a conference call with area media... Tracy Mitrano accused Reed of politicizing "a matter of life and death." The Penn Yan Democrat zeroed in on Reed's criticism of Governor Andrew Cuomo's COVID-19 management practices.

During his weekly conference call last week... Reed criticized Cuomo's new guidelines for nursing homes, which now require all staff to be tested twice a week for the virus.  Mitrano says testing in nursing homes would help Western New York get closer to reopening.  She says 55-percent of the deaths in Erie County have been in nursing homes, and she says the governor wants more testing there to better isolate, and get rid of the virus there.  This is the second time Mitrano is running against the Corning Republican who has been a House member since 2010.

 
A man from the Cattaraugus County town of Machia has been arrested for allegedly abandoning three dogs he owned on his property.  Sheriff's deputies in Little Valley say they took 32 year-old Peter Vega, Junior of Brown Road into custody last Saturday in connection with a complaint filed last December 9th.  Vega is accused of animal cruelty... and, was charged with inadequate shelter, failure to provide sustenance, and neglect and failure to license dogs.  He was issued appearance tickets for Machias Town Court, and the dogs were taken to an animal rescue shelter.