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Health Board examines positive cases, deaths

While COVID-19 continues to be a pandemic worldwide, in Chautauqua County, cases have continued to remain relatively low.

During the Chautauqua County Health Board meeting, Christine Schuyler, county public health director and commissioner of Social Services, went over some basic data on how the county has fared this spring and summer.

Through Wednesday, Aug. 19, the county has had 278 confirmed cases since March 18. Of that amount, 113 cases were in the southern portion of the county, 103 cases were in the northern part of the county, 42 cases have been in the western portion of the county and 20 cases have been in the eastern portion of the county.

There have been nine deaths, all from people 60 and up. Two of the deaths were of people 60-69; three of the deaths were of people 70-79; and four of the deaths were of people 80-89.

“While 60-69 has the highest percent of total cases, the highest death rate has been those 80-89,” she said.

In Chautauqua County the fatality rate is 3.2%, compared to New York state which is at 5.9%.

The biggest spike in the county occurred around Independence Day, when there were 19 positive cases in a single day. “Things have pretty much tapered down and are continuing to remain pretty steady since then,” said Schuyler, adding “I’m knocking on wood here, too.”

Of the of positive cases in the county, 39% have been males and 61% have been females.

Broken down by age group, the biggest group to be positive has been those ages 20-24, which make up more than 50% of the positive cases.

When discussing children and COVID-19, Schuyler noted that based on evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk than adults. The Center for Disease Control has warned that a few children have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome. “To date, there have been no recorded cases of MIS-C in Chautauqua County,” Schuyler said.

Quoting the CDC, Schuyler noted COVID-19 is believed to spread mainly from person-to-person who are in close contact with one another, through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.

The CDC adds the virus may be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then a person touches his/her own mouth, nose or possibly eyes. “This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads,” the CDC stated in a slide presentation that was shared during the meeting.

Schuyler said the health department continues to emphasize the need to wash hands, maintain social distancing, routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and to wear masks when around others.

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