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COVID-19 numbers continue surge

The number of new COVID-19 cases continues to surge — both in Chautauqua County and its neighboring counties.

The Chautauqua County Department of Health on Wednesday reported 25 new cases, adding to a list that has grown by 171 in the last week and far surpassing the total just a month prior.

Of the new cases, five were recorded in the Jamestown zip code, four in Dunkirk, four in Fredonia, two each in Silver Creek and Portland and one each in Bemus Point, Frewsburg, Sherman, Falconer, Westfield, Clymer, Ripley and Forestville. There remains 176 active cases for those who continue to recover under orders from local health officials as well as 13 people hospitalized, 1,370 recoveries, 18 deaths and 1,564 total cases.

Through tests reported on Tuesday, the percent positivity rates for Western New York counties, on a seven-day rolling average, are:

¯ Allegany – 3.5%

¯ Cattaraugus — 6.5%

¯ Chautauqua — 2.5%

¯ Erie — 5.7%

¯ Niagara — 4.4%

To the east, Cattaraugus County noted three new COVID-19-related deaths — a 62-year-old male, a 93-year-old male and a 60-year-old-female — along with 34 new cases on Tuesday. The county had a staggering 291 active cases, 27 deaths and a 7% positivity rate, those who test positive for the coronavirus compared to the total number of tests administered.

Since Sunday, the Cattaraugus County Department of Health has reported 95 new cases.

To the north, Erie County health officials on Wednesday reported 521 new cases. Most of Erie County — due to its ongoing high positivity rate — remains in an orange zone, with some towns along the border with Chautauqua County in a yellow zone. The seven-day positivity rate, according to information by the health department is 6.7%.

As of Monday, 771 people have died in Erie County due to COVID-19-related complications.

To the south, Warren County, Pa., saw its greatest single-day increase of new COVID-19 cases with 22. The previous daily high was 21 (as updated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health), on Friday, Nov. 20.

There have now been a reported 194 cases in the county — 171 confirmed and 23 probable in addition to one reported COVID-related death.

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf renewed the COVID-19 disaster proclamation for the third time. Earlier this week, Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced new restrictions and recommendations including some scaled penalties for businesses that violate masking and distancing guidelines. They also recommended that people who do not live together not gather to celebrate Thanksgiving due to the increased chances of spreading COVID-19.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, warned of a post-Thanksgiving uptick Wednesday that could stress hospitals across the state, which has recorded the highest seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases since late April.

New York recorded 6,265 new positive cases Tuesday, the highest for a single day since April 24. About 3% of tests over the past week have come back positive, more than double the rate a month ago.

New infections have been on the rise in New York this fall, and state and county public health officials say Halloween parties have helped fuel the latest surge this month. Hospitalizations rose to nearly 3,000 COVID-19 patients as of Tuesday. The state has averaged 2,599 patients daily over the past seven days, an 82% increase from compared to 1,428 two weeks ago.

“This is where I think if we’re going to get in trouble, you’re going to see it in a few days, seven days after this Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll start to feel the number,” Cuomo said at a news conference Wednesday in Rochester.

The state averaged 5,599 new cases each day over the past seven days. That’s up 56% from two weeks ago, and more than triple the average as of four weeks ago.

Cuomo has tried to control the spread of COVID-19 by imposing restrictions on hot spots in neighborhoods around the state and officials have warned people to stay home and avoid large Thanksgiving gatherings. Cuomo himself reversed course and canceled plans to celebrate Thanksgiving in person with his 89-year-old mother.

Brian Ferry in Warren and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

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