Pictured above, from left to right—PJ Wendel, Chautauqua County Executive; Dr. Robert Berke, County Physician; Jim Quattrone, Chautauqua County Sheriff; and Christine Schuyler, Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services Director, address the public during a press conference on April 3, 2020.
Pictured above, an image of the County’s COVID-19 Case Map.
MAYVILLE, N.Y.: -- On April 3, Chautauqua County Officials provided an update on the novel Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) in Chautauqua County.
COVID-19 is an infection associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness. If spread in the population, COVID-19 could have significant public health consequences.
As of April 3, Chautauqua County has 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which includes 5 individuals who have fully recovered, 1 individual who has passed away, and 1 new positive test reported today. This new case includes a male in his 30s.
In addition, there are several individuals who have received isolation and quarantine orders by the Public Health Director. This includes:
- 17 individuals in Mandatory Quarantine (individuals confirmed positive of COVID-19 or a household contact of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case);
- 19 individuals in Precautionary Quarantine (individuals with travel history to CDC level 3 country or proximal contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19);
- 76 individuals in Mandatory Isolation (individuals who are symptomatic of COVID-19 and are pending COVID-19 lab test); and
- 160 negative test results to date.
“Earlier this week, we released our Chautauqua County, NY Confirmed COVID-19 Case Map,” said Wendel. “This map shows the number of confirmed cases in our county by identifying cases in our previously established Fire Battalion zones. This mapping system will help keep the public informed of the regions in our county where cases are being confirmed, while also protecting the privacy of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.”
The online map can be accessed through the Chautauqua County website at chqgov.com under “COVID-19 Information,” the Chautauqua County Health Department Facebook page at www.facebook.com/myhealthycounty/ , and Chautauqua County Government Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chautauquacountygovernment.
The map is made up of four fire battalion zones with each section covering multiple municipalities in Chautauqua County. The following is a breakdown of what communities are included in each battalion zone:
- Battalion 1: includes the City of Dunkirk; Towns of Arkwright, Dunkirk, Hanover, Pomfret, Sheridan, Stockton, and Villenova; and the Villages of Cassadaga, Fredonia, and Silver Creek.
- Battalion 2: includes the Towns of Chautauqua, Mina, Portland, Ripley, Sherman, and Westfield; and Villages of Brocton, Mayville, Sherman, and Westfield.
- Battalion 3: includes the City of Jamestown; Towns of Busti, Carroll, Clymer, French Creek, Harmony, Kiantone, and North Harmony; part of the Town of Ellicott; and Villages of Celoron, Lakewood, and Panama.
- Battalion 4: includes the Towns of Cherry Creek, Charlotte, Ellery, Ellington, Gerry, and Poland; part of the Town of Ellicott; and the Villages of Bemus Point, Falconer, and Sinclairville.
“COVID-19 is circulating in Chautauqua County,” said Christine Schuyler, Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services Director. “Just because an area doesn’t show up as having a confirmed case or you didn’t visit a particular location, it doesn’t mean you haven’t been exposed. We all need to be mindful and take the social distancing precautions to heart. We will get through this and we will get better, but to do so we need everyone to do their part.”
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
The use of masks during the COVID-19 pandemic and who should use each type has also been the subject of much discussion. Chautauqua County Physician, Dr. Robert Berke, discussed the different types of masks and stressed the importance of them being used by the appropriate people. These masks include:
- N95 masks and face visors and shields – These are only to be used by medical personnel and first responders. They are in very short supply and are designed to protect these vital individuals from getting sick while they work to protect the public.
- Surgical masks- These are only to be used by medical staff, those caring for the frail and at risk population, and for individuals who have compromised immunity. These are designed to provide a fairly good degree of personal protection from droplet born infection. These are also in relatively short supply and should be conserved for high risk individuals only and not for general use.
- Home Made masks/bandannas--These are now being suggested for the general population to wear when out doing essential tasks such as shopping for food or going to medical appointments. These provide little or no personal protection for the individual wearing the mask, but significantly reduce the volume and distance that their breath, cough, and sneeze spray can travel to infect others.
“The general public can wear homemade cloth masks or bandanas to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Berke. “New data suggests that up to 30 percent of the population infected with COVID-19 may have no apparent symptoms, but still be spreading the virus. By wearing a homemade mask or bandana when you are out, you will do a community service by protecting everyone else, but you must be aware that they provide very little protection for yourself.”
Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone also spoke about the spike in overdoses that has occurred in Chautauqua County in the past month.
“Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic we continue to be concerned about the ongoing drug epidemic and will continue to encourage individuals to seek assistance,” said Quattrone. “If you know someone with a substance use disorder, please encourage them to seek help and support them in their efforts. In March we had 45 reported overdoses, 2 of which were fatal overdoses. Without the use of Naloxone the death rate would have been significantly higher. The spike we have seen in March is more than the combined total of any other two months over the past year. The use of fentanyl, intentionally or unintentionally, has resulted in many of these overdoses.”
Individuals suffering from substance use disorders are encouraged to seek assistance through treatment providers and harm reduction services. The Mental Health Association (MHA) is available to help connect individuals to clinics. For assistance, please contact MHA at 716-661-9044.
“We urge residents to please stay home, stay healthy and stay safe,” said Wendel. “By taking preventive measures we can all help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”
Residents are also encouraged to continue to check for daily updates on COVID-19 in our county by visiting the COVID-19 page of the Chautauqua County website at chqgov.com, Chautauqua County Health Department Facebook page at www.facebook.com/myhealthycounty/ , and Chautauqua County Government Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chautauquacountygovernment. Daily COVID-19 updates are also emailed directly to the “Monday Morning Memo” distribution list. Individuals can sign-up to receive these alerts by email, by going to chqgov.com and under the County Executive’s page signing up under the Monday Morning Memo Newsletter tab.