MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County officials announced Friday that there are no new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in the county.
Officials say there are four active cases currently, and one more person recovered. Sixty people remain in quarantine, and more than 530 negative tests have been reported.
Chautauqua County P.J. Wendel said that he felt it was important to extend the County’s State of Emergency because he didn’t want to jeopardize FEMA money opportunities for Chautauqua County and its municipalities.
Wendel also addressed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order ordering that everyone over the age of two must wear a mask over their nose and mouth when in public and when “social distancing” can’t be practiced.
The NYSDOH recommends that face coverings should:
· fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face;
· be secured with ties or ear loops;
· include multiple layers of fabric;
· allow for breathing without restriction; and
· be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape.
Wendel says he’s in support of a recent plan by Assemblyman Andy Goodell and State Senator George Borrello to re-open using a systematic approach.
Wendel says that Lily Dale and Chautauqua Institution can’t constitutionally stop people from returning their home. However, he said Institution President Michael Hill has informed him that officials are planning several contingency plans for their season.
Wendel says normal activities in Lily Dale have been cancelled.
Cuomo also says that essential businesses must provide face masks for its employees.
Wendel and Director of health and Human Services Christine Schuyler didn’t cover their face and nose during the press conference because they were more than six feet apart.
“Use common sense and good judgement,” Schuyler said. “As my grandmother said, keep your germs to yourself.”
Schuyler says the general public should wear a cloth rather than a surgical mask during the pandemic.
“It is morally wrong for anyone who doesn’t need to wear a surgical mask to wear a surgical mask,” Schuyler said. She notes that “it’s appropriate” for those who are told by their doctors to wear them because of pre-existing conditions to wear them.
Schuyler urges anyone who is working for an essential business and experiences any of the virus symptoms to contact their health care provider to discuss the experienced symptoms as well as where they work.
“There isn’t a good answer for a when, the question is how are we going to continue through this pandemic,” Schuyler said. She says it’s important to see what is happening throughout the county.
Schuyler says the county has seen an expansion in tools used to test for the virus, allowing for results to be returned quicker.
Schuyler says the county is “fortunate” to be more rural because citizens are more used to practice social distancing in comparison to urban areas.
Schuyler confirms that no nursing home residents have tested positive for the virus, but there have been negative tests. She adds that her office has been in constant contact with administrators of the various nursing homes throughout the county.
Both Wendel and Schuyler are participating in several conferences each day with fellow officials throughout the county and state.
Priorities for testing include:
1. Hospitalized patients (including those in the ER who will be admitted).
2. Symptomatic healthcare workers including but not limited to those working in hospitals, ERs, urgent care centers, medical offices, nursing homes, home care, private duty, and EMS.
a. Because of their often extensive and close contact with vulnerable patients in healthcare settings, even mild signs and symptoms of COVID-19 should be evaluated among potentially exposed healthcare personnel.
3. Symptomatic residents of Skilled Nursing or Adult Care Facilities.
4. Symptomatic persons who have underlying comorbidities such as chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma; serious heart conditions; diabetes; chronic renal disease; and liver disease.
5. Symptomatic persons who are immunocompromised such as those undergoing cancer treatment, bone marrow or organ transplantation; those with immune deficiencies, HIV or AIDS; or with prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
6. Symptomatic essential workers with person-to-public contact including but not limited to Public Health staff, child care staff, jail/prison staff, first responders such as law enforcement, child protective services, and firefighters, and store/business personnel.
Residents are reminded to continue to follow the 10 points of the New York State on PAUSE plan:
Effective at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, all non-essential businesses statewide will be closed;
Non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason (e.g. parties, celebrations or other social events) are canceled or postponed at this time;
Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced;
When in public, individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others;
Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet;
Individuals should limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact and avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people;
Individuals should limit use of public transportation to when absolutely necessary and should limit potential exposure by spacing out at least six feet from other riders;
Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health;
Young people should also practice social distancing and avoid contact with vulnerable populations; and
Use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes.