MAYVILE – Health officials in Chautauqua County continue to stress the importance of social distancing amid the novel Coronavirus outbreak, even though some are not abiding by the requests.
Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler stressed since the pandemic started that cases of COVID-19 were in the area even though testing results were pending. On Monday, tests confirmed two people have contracted the virus so far. Officials expect that number to increase.
“We are now at the beginning of what we’ve called the wave we have been waiting to come in, we are in the bell curve where the cases will start to go up,” said Schuyler. “It is all of our jobs, not meaning health officials, government officials, every single person in the community it is your job to help keep this illness from spreading.”
Even though officials like Schuyler have encouraged residents to stay home and practice responsible social distancing, some in the community ignored the call by meeting in large groups over the weekend.
“I have a lot of respect for our faith leaders, I am hopeful that they in practically can help to spread the message that this is not the time to gather, even though you may feel personally that the lord is going to take care of you, that if you get it you get it, and if you don’t you don’t, but that is not some dice you want to roll because we personally impact everyone else around us,” explained Schuyler.
Schuyler says that when in public, like when grocery shopping, residents should be assertive to maintain a six-foot space between themselves and other community members.
Furthermore, officials dismissed rumors that residents of New York City, who have second homes in the county at places like the Chautauqua Institution, are moving in.
“One of the questions we had was there was a lot of traffic in and out of the institution this past weekend and after talking with President Michael Hill, many and most of that traffic were county residents coming into the grounds of the Chautauqua Institution to walk and get exercise,” said Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel.
Wendel says the Institution has taken measures to scene returning residents, but at this point many are abiding by suggestions to stay home.
President Hill released a statement following the county’s press conference, saying in part, “we are now staffing our gates 24/7 and will know if that volume changes, as the attendant at the Main Gate entrance is taking information from every person who enters and departs the Chautauqua grounds. Our log from the weekend shows that most of the traffic in and out of the grounds was by visitors who came to walk or sightsee and enjoy the beautiful weather while practicing social distancing.”
“We are grateful to those who have come to us for factual information and refrained from spreading unfounded rumors and irresponsible reporting on this issue,” Hill furthered. “The resulting stress and fear this has generated is regrettable because it is, itself, preventable. Institution property owners have been informed of this rumor and they have been advised to carefully consider any plans to return to the region during this phase of the pandemic, as we work with our colleagues throughout the region to manage within the means of our healthcare and other systems in Chautauqua County.”
So far, there is no medical treatment for COVID-19, the novel Coronavirus.