Jamestown City Hall had to be evacuated for about three hours yesterday morning after a strong smell of gas was reported in the police department. Deputy Fire Chief Matt Coon says they received a call from police just after 6 AM about the gas odor on the eastside of the municipal building at Tracy Plaza. Coon says a group of firefighters checked the basement... and another group later found the leak along Prendergast Avenue between Second and Third Streets.
In addition to evacuating police and fire personnel... Coon says National Fuel Gas was called in. He says police and fire crews remained outside until the all clear was given. Coon says city police performed traffic control in the area... and, kept employees from entering the building until it was safe for re-entry. We had been told earlier that a contractor may have accidently struck the natural gas line... but, that was not the case. However... the cause of the leak remains under investigation. Coon says people were allowed back in the building shortly after 9 AM.
There have now been more than 12-hundred confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County after 27 new cases were reported Tuesday. That from County Executive P-J Wendel... who says there are now 1,214 total cases since the pandemic began. Wendel says there are six new cases each in Jamestown and Fredonia... and, three each in Dunkirk and Silver Creek. He says there are now 113 active cases... and, 1,086 have now recovered. Wendel says the county's Health Department is currently monitoring a cluster linked to social clubs in the north county area. He says there are currently eight active cases linked to the Fredonia Beaver Club.
Officials in Chautauqua County are sending a message out to social clubs in the county that they must follow COVID-19 guidelines. That after a cluster of seven confirmed cases linked to the Fredonia Beaver Club surfaced over the weekend. County Executive P-J Wendel gave us his reaction to the news Tuesday morning....
[CLIP] Wendel-important for SCs to abide by guidelines "licenses jeopardized....
Meanwhile, Wendel is following developments in Erie County where much of the county is under a "yellow" zone designation. However... he says the situation was the other way around a couple of weeks ago, when our county's numbers were "much higher" than Erie County's. Sunday's testing data showed that Erie County's positivity rate reached 6-percent... while Chautauqua County's rate of positive cases was at 1.5 percent.
A student at Jamestown's Fletcher Elementary School who was last in school on October 30th has tested positive for the COVID-19 Virus. The district was notified late Tuesday morning by the Chautauqua County Health Department that the student tested positive... but, had been attending off-site at the time of the diagnosis. District Spokesperson Cathy Panebianco says the Health Department is reporting that "no in-school contact tracing will be required." She adds that out-of-school close contacts are being notified, and appropriate steps are being taken. It's the second-day in a row that a Jamestown Public School student was reported as having COVID-19. As a reminder... Panebianco says please wear face masks, maintain social distancing and continue frequent hand washing whether at school or in the community to help keep our students and staff safe.
Local Congressman Tom Reed says he supports President Trump's right to contest the results of voting in some states. However... the Corning Republican is also acknowledging that Joe Biden as the President-elect. Reed is one of a small number of Republicans who have congratulated Biden on winning the election... but, he says -- unless there's some huge discrepancy -- Biden is the President-elect.
Reed says he has taken some criticism for his stance on Biden being declared President-Elect in media reports. In a certain regarding... he says he's looking forward to going back to work with the Problem Solver's Caucus that he co-chairs. Reed says they may have more clout in the House because it looks like Democrats will ony have about a 10-vote majority. As for his own race... Reed says -- even if Democratic Challenger Tracy Mitrano received 100-percent of the absentee ballots submitted in the 23rd Congressional District -- it wouldn't change the outcome. Reed made his comments during his weekly telephone conference call with national and regional media.
The Chautauqua County Board of Elections has finished it's count of just over 10,000 absentee ballots for last week's General Election. The Board reports that 10,750 absentees were accepted. However... officials say the added ballots did not change any of the outcomes. Republicans had a big night... with P-J Wendel winning the County Executive's race... Jason Schmidt winning for District Attorney... and State Assemblyman Andy Goodell and State Senator George Borrello winning by huge margins. The board is still awaiting military and overseas ballots before the results are certified.
Counties across New York state began to count more than 1.5-million absentee ballots Monday in an effort to determine the outcome of several races that remain undecided nearly a week after Election Day. The mail-in vote has the potential to swing some races substantially. Roughly 930,000 absentee ballots were returned by Democrats, while 260,000 were returned by Republicans.