Local News Headlines

WJTN News Headlines for Fri., Dec. 10, 2021

Hochul announces new mask mandate...
Governor Kathy Hochul has announced a new indoor mask mandate statewide in New York.  Hochul hinted at possible action during a press conference on Thursday... but, says everyone at an indoor public venue mus wear a mask... starting next Monday.  She says the only exception is if there is a vaccine mandate for that venue, and proof would be needed for entry.  Hochul says rising case numbers, and hospitalizations across the state is the reason.  However... she says her administration will reevaluate the situation on Jan. 15.  New York City just recently put a similar mandate in place for public places in the city.


Hochul's order regarding hospital acute bed capacity takes effect...
UPMC Chautauqua and Brook's Memorial Hospitals in Chautauqua County are two of the 32 in New York state where all non-essential and elective surgeries have been halted due to rising COVID-19 hospitalizations.  Governor Kathy Hochul's order, signed last month, took effect Thursday... and, includes both local hospitals.  Hochul says there are seven total hospitals in Western New York affected.  However... she says they will be reassessing the situation on and before Jan. 15 and where the current surge in cases is going.  The order took effect for any New York hospital who's acute care bed capacity has fallen below 10-percent.  Hochul says the National Guard is now in place to help with staffing shortages... and, in helping to free up beds at nursing home facilities.  She also announced today that the Food and Drug Administration has approved booster shots for 16 and 17 year-olds... and, she's encouraging all eligible residents to get their first doses... and, boosters.


Bassett says Delta remains the big issue in NYS, though Omicron cases are increasing...
Chautauqua County's hospitals have been managing their bed capacity during the COVID-19 surge... but, they are at a "tipping point."  That from County Executive P.J. Wendel on Wednesday saying that UPMC Chautauqua was only performing essential services... and, is "bursting at the seams."  Brook's Hospital is also having to transport some patients to Jamestown.  The state's new Health Commissioner, Mary Bassett, says the Delta Variant remains prevailent across the state.  As for Omicron... Bassett says there have now been 20 people found with the newest COVID variant... and, says one of those has reached the eastern end of the Southern Tier.  She says that case was found in Broome County... near Binghampton.  Omicron is being found in more places due to community spread. 


Hochul comments briefly on Malatras' resignation...
State University of New York Chancellor James Malatras said he will resign amid criticism for sending text messages mocking one of the women who later accused former Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.  Calls for Malatras' resignation or removal began after the state Attorney General late last month made public transcripts... and evidence from a probe of sexual harassment allegations that forced Cuomo from office.  Asked about it today... Hochul said she did talk with SUNY Board Chairwoman Meryl Tisch... but, would not say if Malatras' name came up.  She says the talk was more about the future of SUNY, and how to make it better.  A text exchange from 2019 involving Malatras and other Cuomo allies showed them privately mocking Lindsey Boylan, a former economic development official who would later become the first woman to publicly accuse Cuomo.  Malatras' resignation is effective Jan. 14.


Hochul reacts to Letitia James decision not to run for governor...        
There will be no 2022 run for governor by New York state Attorney General Letitia James after suspending her campaign Thursday.  Wit that... James says she'll run for re-election to her current post.  The Democrat said in a statement that she needs to continue her work as attorney general, citing "a number of important investigations and cases" underway.  James would have been a strong opponent for the Democratic nomination for governor against Kathy Hochul next year.  Hochul says James called her Thursday morning to inform her of the decision.  James oversaw an investigation into allegations that former Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed numerous women, and only announced she was running for governor in late October. 


Lit candle next to a bed sparks basement fire in Dunkirk...
Dunkirk city firefighters responded to a report of a basement fire early Thursday morning, the second such fire in just over a week.  Fire crews were called to the blaze at 856 Bataan Ave. around 2:30 a.m.  City Fire Chief Mike Edwards says the occupants were able to escape the structure and crews were able to confine the flames to the basement area.  Edwards says two people, including a city firefighter, were reportedly injured.  He says the firefighter partially fell through the first-floor... and, an occupant ran off before crews arrived.  County fire investigators assisted city investigators at the scene and determined that a lit candle next to a bed sparked the fire.  Last Wednesday, firefighters were called to a basement fire at 27 Leming St., with the fire being sparked by a dryer fire. 


Celoron cancels "Holiday in Park" Saturday due to high wind and rain forecast...
The village of Celoron has announced it is cancelling it's "Holiday in the Park" program for tomorrow due to rain... and, high wind warnings in effect for the day tomorrow.