Local News Headlines

There are now more than 2-thousand confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County after another 153 people tested positive the past three days.  The county Health Department's COVID-19 Dashboard shows there have now been 2,036 cases since the pandemic began... and, there are currently 326 active cases.  Officials say there are currently 17 people hospitalized... and, 1,387 people are under quarantine.  The Health Department reports 1,690 cases have now recovered.  There are still 20 deaths being reported.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered hospitals across New York state to increase their bed capacity by 25-percent... and, warns he will curtail indoor dining if hospitalization keeps going up.  Cuomo told reporters in Albany today (Monday) that over 46-hundred COVID-19 patients are now hospitalized statewide... and, that's double the amount reported November 18th.  In addition... Cuomo is asking health care retirees to come out of retirement to relieve the load on doctors, and nurses.

While the state isn't at a "critical" level of COVID-19 patients yet... Cuomo says the continued growth is concerning.  He also announced a new "Surge-Flex" plan to move patients to less crowded hospitals when others reach capacity.  Cuomo is announcing the moves before an expected surge in COVID-19 cases during the holiday season.

Chautauqua County's representative in the New York State Senate has tested positive for COVID-19, along with his wife.  Sunset Bay Republican George Borrello says he and his wife, Kelly, were tested on Sunday, and learned they have the virus.  Borrello did not disclose how they got the virus, but, did say "as an elected official whose schedule often involves public interaction, I have made it a point to get tested for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure."  Borrello says "thankfully, we both feel well, we are following the recommendations of our doctors and will be self-isolating at home for 10 days."  He also says that while he did attend public events in the days before learning his status "the the risk of any inadvertent transmission to others is very low, as I was masked and followed social-distancing guidelines.”

Members of the Jamestown City Council are defending their decision furlough the Parks and Recreation Coordinator in the 2021 budget due to COVID-related financial constraints.  That from Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Kim Ecklund... who says the problem is there will likely be no activities to coordinate -- possibly through 2021 -- due to the pandemic.  Ecklund responded to several letters and other correspondences read at the beginning of last night's work session... supporting keeping the position, and the person in that position -- Julia Ciesla-Hanley.

Ecklund adds that very little money was even budgeted for events the coordinator would be involved in scheduling.  The comments also come a short time after Mayor Eddie Sundquist announced that he had vetoed the elimination of the position.  He said that -- if a vaccine was effective -- events may be able to resume as they would in a normal year."  However... Council President Tony Dolce sounded pessimistic due to the recent spike in cases... and more likely coming. Sundquist also vetoed the amendment to take $436,000 from the undesignated fund balance because the position would be added back to the budget.  Council will have to hold a special meeting for any override vote by December 15th.  A two-thirds majority vote would be needed to override the vetoes.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is warning that the state's hospitals are at risk of being overrun with COVID-19 patients and might have to begin rationing medical care if the rate of spread does not slow.  Wolf says additional pandemic mitigation measures are under consideration, because the ones now in place have not worked.  He did not say what his administration is considering, but the Democrat all but ruled out a return to the kinds of restrictions imposed last spring.