MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Health Officials are continuing to call on residents to wear home made masks when out in the community as part of an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
During Thursday’s COVID press conference update, WNYNewsNow asked Chautauqua County Health Director Christine Schuyler why there was a shift from recommending residents to simply wash their hands to now asking all to start wearing masks.
“I think the big shift came at the direction of the CDC, at the federal level,” explained Schuyler. “In general, we weren’t seeing a lot of community transmission of COVID-19, but now from what we’ve seen in New York City and other hot spots around the nation we know COVID-19 is here and it is being spread throughout the community.”
Schuyler says that the masks will protect residents from spreading the virus to others directly.
“If you can not maintain six feet of distance from other people when you are at work or if you are in the store, it really is a community mitigation strategy that doesn’t matter that we don’t have as many positive cases here as they do around the state or other places in the nation, it is something we really need to be doing now,” furthered Schuyler.
Health officials ask residents to only wear home made masks and not the medical grade N-95 or surgical masks. Doing so, officials say, would contribute to the already ongoing shortage medical professions face.
The United Way of Southern Chautauqua County is now partnering with local health officials to collect handmade masks and other supplies for those who are in need.
Community members are asked to donate hand made cloth face masks and personal hygiene items like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and woman’s sanitary products.
There are two separate collection containers at each of the following sites:
- Bemus Point United Methodist Church, 4954 Bemus Ellery Rd., Bemus Point, open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, 212 Lakeshore Dr. W, Dunkirk, open Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- The Relief Zone, 5 Frew Run Rd., Frewsburg (drop off in parking lot entrance across from the library), open Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- New Creation Assembly of God, 116 S. Main St., Jamestown (drop in front entrance), open Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Sherman Fire Department, 112 Park St., Sherman (drop in lower banquet hall entrance), open Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Park Church, 49 Sinclair Dr., Sinclairville, open Tuesday and Thursday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
United Way officials say cloth masks collected will be donated to various organizations throughout the county. Eventually, the masks may be handed out to residents in need, depending on how great the need is with professionals.