Chautauqua County Officials Give Weekly COVID-19 Update, No New Cases Reported

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MAYVILLE – There are no new cases of the COVID-19 virus in Chautauqua County, according to County Executive P.J. Wendel.

Wendel says that the economy potentially reopening won’t be like “flipping on a light switch.”

Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says that the county is seeing an increase in testing capabilities. She is reassuring residents that she’ll continue to do contract tracing, etc. as businesses open.

“We have to be very careful,” Schuyler said.  Schuyler says the county will have to keep an eye out for any “second wave” of the virus that could arise in the future. In addition, she didn’t rule out that the county could see an uptick in cases when the economy is re-opened.

Wendel says he’s “confident” in Schuyler and her teams ability to monitor the virus following the re-opening.

The Director adds that she’ll make recommendations based on the evolving situation.

“We don’t know (when the danger will end),” Schuyler said.

Schuyler says she’s not overly concerned that a person could falsely test negative for the novel virus.

“There is that chance somebody could (falsely) test negative, but that isn’t unique to the COVID-19 virus,” Schuyler said.

Schuyler says “it’s possible” that the virus was here in Chautauqua County prior to March, but she says her department will know more when antibody testing is made available locally.

Wendel says Chautauqua County wasn’t included as part of an antibody study that the State of New York recently conducted.

Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone says his office is continuing to hear complaints about citizens not wearing masks when in a public place when social distancing can’t happen. He says “there’s no enforcement” by law enforcement other than warning and educating people and businesses in accordance to a previous executive order from Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The Sheriff, however, says a business is “well within their right” to prevent people from coming into their store if they fail to wear a mask in accordance to said store’s policy.

Quattrone also says that the community has seen an increase in drug overdoses, some of which were fatal. He adds people should do everything they can to help others seek help with substance abuse.

Quattrone says Chautauqua County has seen about an 80% increase of domestic dispute calls, and about a 100% increase in mental health calls. The Sheriff urges victims to use the various domestic violence resources locally, such as phone hotlines.

Wendel and Quattrone says that those planning to protest next Friday in Jamestown is “well within their rights,” and they add that they’re glad to see the protesters are encouraged to practice social distancing.

Schuyler says that the number of cases involving suspected child abuse is down, but she says that may not necessarily be a positive as the number of State-mandated reporters is down due to the COVID-19 virus.


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