Chautauqua County is nearing 14-hundred cases of COVID-19 with 14 new ones reported on Wednesday. County Health officials also report there are now 12 people hospitalized with the virus. County Executive P-J Wendel says there are four new cases each in Fredonia and Jamestown... and, two in Sherman. He says there are now 1,393 total cases... and, 130 are active. He says 1,247 cases have now recovered.
The Cattaraugus County Health Department is reporting a 23rd death of a resident due to COVID-19 related complications... and 52 new cases of the coronavirus. Officials say victim was a 77-year-old man who developed respiratory failure and was unable to overcome his illness. There have now been 685 confirmed cases of COVID in Cattaraugus County... while 167 of them are now active.
The worst COVID-19 infection rate is now in Western New York... and, that's led Governor Andrew Cuomo to issue an "Orange Zone" designation for parts of Erie County. However... Chautauqua County will not be part of any of the three zones because it's positivity rate remains relatively low. The governor made the announcement Wednesday afternoon... adding the region's positivity rate is more than 5-percent. Cuomo announced yesterday some of the smaller towns in Erie County -- including the town of Evans has been moved into the "Orange zone" designation... while all the rest of Erie County is now in the "Yellow Zone." Those are the least restrictive zones... and, includes the towns of Collins and North Collins... just north of the Cattaraugus County line.
Two teachers in the Jamestown Public School system have tested positive for COVID-19... and, were last in school last Friday, November 13th. That from Spokesperson Cathy Panebianco... who says one is a teacher at Persell Middle School, while the other is a teacher at Ring Elementary. Panebianco says there is no known connection between the two cases. She adds the district continues to follow all guidelines from the Chautauqua County Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Panebianco says they are working closely with the county to do contact tracing. Any close contacts will be notified and appropriate steps will be taken. If you have questions... contact your building nurse or email Coordinator of Health Services Jill Muntz at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 483-4376.
Chautauqua County's congressman again used his weekly telephone conference call to blast Governor Cuomo for the Democrat's latest criticism of President Trump, and how two promising COVID-19 vaccines will be rolled out. Cuomo says he worried about the companies being driven by profit, and the Trump administration's speedy push for a vaccine. However... Reed says he's "appalled and disgusted" by the governor's comments... and, says being so close to a break-through vaccine is to be celebrated.
However... while Cuomo has been very critical of the Trump administration's handling of the vaccine situation... the state Department of Health has accepted local county's plans for distributing a vaccine. Reed says the governor should not be doing one thing... and, then discrediting the work of the two companies and researchers involved. Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says the county got it's distribution plan into the state by Monday's deadline. For the most part... it would be distributed through drive-in clinics.
New York's junior U-S Senator is calling on Congress to approve a supplimental measure in the next COVID-19 relief bill to deal with the on-going drug overdose crisis in the country. Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand says she has sent a letter to fellow New York Senator Charles Schumer, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to take up the $40-billion package, which would support treatment, counseling and support services.
Gillibrand says -- in New York state -- the situation is dire -- with big increases in overdose death reported in several counties... including Chautauqua. She says a number of human service organizations that provide treatment and other services are now -- themselves -- on life support -- and need help to assist those with substance abuse and mental health issues. Gillibrand feels the legislation has a good chance of passing because it would be for the entire nation... and, is being co-sponsored by Republican Senator Shelly Moore-Capito of West Virginia. She adds it also has Republican and Democratic support in the House of Representatives.