MAYVILLE – Officials in Chautauqua County released an update on the status of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic in our area Friday night.
Christine Schuyler, the director of Health and Human Services, released the following:
I’d like to take a moment to address some of the recent developments surrounding the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. The health and well-being of Chautauqua County residents is our utmost priority. While there is need for concern and preparedness; there is no need for panic.
There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County. We have two (2) persons in Precautionary Quarantine. One of them met criteria to be tested for COVID-19 and we are awaiting those results.
From what we know, COVID-19 appears to be especially targeting those age 65 or older; those with underlying health conditions such as heart, lung, kidney, neurologic, or liver disease or diabetes; those with compromised immune systems; and pregnant women. Anyone in these high risk categories should be extra vigilant about respiratory and hand hygiene and avoid gatherings of 10 people or more.
Please stay home if you are ill and avoid others. If you have a fever and worsening symptoms of respiratory illness such cough and difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for advisement. Your healthcare provider should do an initial screening over the phone and determine if you need to be evaluated. At the time of evaluation, you will be provided with a mask before you enter the office and your healthcare provider should test for common respiratory illnesses, such as influenza. If your healthcare provider feels that you require further testing for COVID-19, he/she will consult with staff here at the Local Health Department to make that determination. There are no special COVID-19 testing kits. Specimen collection consists of swabbing your nose and mouth and inserting those swabs in a special media for transport to a laboratory. As of today, those specimens are then taken to the Erie County Public Health Lab in Buffalo by our Local Health Department staff.
Chautauqua County’s response to this pandemic involves phasing in a series of actions to help slow the spread of respiratory viruses such as COVID-19 so that our health care system is not overburdened. These actions first include personal protective measures for everyday use (staying home when ill, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands often) and frequent and thorough environmental cleaning. From there, we move to community mitigation strategies. Here we have started with social distancing measures which can reduce the spread of a virus by decreasing the frequency and duration of social contact among persons of all ages. These measures are common-sense approaches to limiting face-to-face contact which reduces person-to-person transmission of disease. This is why public gatherings with 500 or more participants are not permitted at this time, occupancy of certain other venues is now reduced by 50% (New York has issued more specific guidance), and nursing homes are not allowing visitors. Schools in Chautauqua County have received recommendations to forego field trips, school events where more than 50 members of the public will attend, and school wide assemblies.
Because this situation is changing continuously, public health strategies will also change. As we evolve into the community spread phase of pandemic, mitigation strategies will also increase. We are all in this together – thank you.
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