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New peak reached as 16 COVID cases reported

Submitted Photo Pictured above from left: PJ Wendel, Chautauqua County Executive; and Dr. Robert Berke, County Physician.

MAYVILLE — A new peak has been reached in the number of Chautauqua County residents testing positive with COVID-19.

On Friday during a news conference in Mayville, County Executive PJ Wendel announced 16 new positive test results. The cases involve a pediatric; two males and a female in their teens; four females and two males in their 20s; two females and a male in their 40s; a female in their 50s; a female in their 60s; and a female in their 70s.

The news of the 16 cases follows Tuesday’s announcement that there were 11 new cases of county residents testing positive with COVID-19.

Wendel said there are now 35 active cases and 364 people in quarantine or isolation in the county. The county executive pleaded to those in quarantine or isolation to please adhere to the order so they don’t spread the virus to others if they are infected. He said those that are awaiting test results must stay in quarantine until they receive their results.

“This is no different from day one to today, hundred and something. We must stay vigilant to stop the spread,” he said. “Think about the impact not only to yourself, but your family members, friends and co-workers and the ripple effect to their family members, friends and co-workers.”

Dr. Robert Berke, county physician, said the increase this week in the number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is a sobering moment for residents in Chautauqua County. He said the tests that have come back positive were all taken before the Fourth of July weekend. He added that the 16 positive tests announced Friday are related to close family contact before the holiday weekend.

Berke said a month ago, county officials were thanking residents for being disciplined by wearing a mask and social distancing.

“We were doing extremely well,” he said. “(Wearing a mask) works. It’s a question of discipline.”

Berke said there has even been reports that some young people are reluctant to provide the names of everyone they have been connected to during the contact tracing process. He said this is “absolute insanity.”

“This is serious business. People need to take this serious,” he said.

Wendel urged everyone to continue wearing a mask and to practice social distancing. He said just because Western New York is in the fourth and final phase of the New York Forward reopening plan, doesn’t mean people should stop following the guidelines.

“Just because we’re in Phase Four doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods,” he said. “If we let our guard down now, we run the risk of everything going down the drain. We need to make sure everyone continues their hard work to keep this region moving forward.”

Even though there has been an increase in the number of positive tests, Wendel said no one is hospitalized with a diagnosis of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County. He said the main metric the state and the region is following, as far as reopening the economy, is the number of hospitalizations.

“With no hospitalizations, we’re still moving forward,” he said.

To date, there have been 128 people who have recovered from COVID-19, with a 170 total confirmed cases. There have been seven fatalities and there have been 17,801 negative test results.

County officials have broken down the county by four battalions to indicate where people with positive cases live. In Battalion 1, which is the north county like the Dunkirk area, there have been 64 cases. In Battalion 2, which is the western part of the county that includes the village of Westfield and Mayville, there have been 27 cases. In Battalion 3, which is the south part of the county that includes the city of Jamestown, there have been 65 cases. In Battalion 4, which is the eastern part of the county, there have been 14 cases.

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