MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County officials announced two new cases of COVID-19 in their weekly press conference Friday afternoon.
The new cases are a man and woman in their 20’s. This brings the total number of positive cases to 99 with 22 active cases, 269 remaining under quarantine and or isolation orders, 71 recoveries, and six fatalities.
Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler praised the low prevalence of COVID-19 to community mitigation efforts and the rural nature of the Southern Tier.
“We will see further spread of the virus as we reopen and I hope people will continue to take reasonable precautions” said Schuyler.
Schuyler also said there has been some confusion regarding state and federal information regarding COVID-19. She directed the public to pay attention to the information the County Health Department releases as they know exactly what is going on within the community.
Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel called out Albany to send the county the money they are owed from Medicaid reimbursements, child care etc. Executive Wendel said the state has withheld reimbursements with Albany stating they were not aware counties have requested the reimbursements.
New York State Assemblyman Andy Goodell said the longer it takes for the region to fully reopen, the more local businesses that will likely not be able to survive.
Assemblyman Goodell also condemned the recent violence and destruction of others property that has sparked as a result of the death of George Floyd.
Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone said the proposals brought forth by Albany to make changes to law enforcement policies were not discussed with law enforcement officials.
Christine Schuyler said she does believe there will be a spike in the number of positive cases as a result of recent protests with a lack of regard to masks and social distancing guidelines.
“The reason we went into quarantine was so we didn’t overwhelm our healthcare system with so many people sick at the same time…it feels like everything we’ve talked about has gone down the drain when you watch television but that’s not the case. The disease is still out there; more people are going to get sick.”
Executive Wendel said with the lower positive numbers and hospitalizations, officials feel confident at this time that might not set us back in the reopening. However, officials did state the overall decision in the reopening status will come from the governor.
John Griffith, Chautauqua County Office of Emergency Services Director reminded residents even though the region is reopening, the pandemic is not over.
“Chautauqua County will continue to see new cases and [to] First Responders, you will be dealing with new cases…Chautauqua County will continue to test and our positive numbers will rise. Don’t let your guard down, keep using the precautions as you have.”
WNYNewsNow spoke with Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist earlier Friday. When asked if there’s been discussions with the WNY Control Room regarding the impact of the recent protesting in Buffalo, Sundquist says the biggest concern is the number of new positive cases.
“We have had discussions about the numbers. We review the metrics every day as part of our control room process,” Sundquist said. “The big concern we have is the number of new positive cases we are seeing. Overall, our hospitalization rates and death rates continue to remain low, which is positive.”
“But there is some concern from the State with the increased amount of positive cases we are seeing. We are monitoring it closely. We’re hoping things level out a bit, and that we are able continue to move forward in the reopening phases.”
Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone told WNYNewsNow earlier Friday that he is worried about people becoming too relaxed when it comes to preventing the spread of the virus.
“I’m very concerned about it,” Quattrone said. “Last night, I was out in a couple public places and very few people wore masks or were struggling with social distancing. We need to continue to do that.”
Quattrone adds he hopes to see people continue to practice habits like washing hands, wearing masks, etc. in order to prevent the spread.