County reports 199 new cases from weekend

Chautauqua County’s active coronavirus caseload increased by 19 over the weekend as the health department reported 199 new cases from Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Jamestown zip code broke its previous high in active cases over the weekend — 129 COVID-19 cases are active in the city after 48 more were reported since Friday.

Total active cases increased to 452 over the weekend, a 19-person increase. Hospitalizations also increased by two to 33. Quarantined contacts, however, decreased from 1,450 on Thursday to 1,421 as of Sunday.

In the north county, 22 new cases were reported in Fredonia, 17 in Forestville and 11 in Dunkirk. Twelve new cases were also reported in Frewsburg.

Mayville, meanwhile, has the second-most active cases in the county with 58.

The state did report its highest hospitalization numbers over the weekend since May. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that while hospitalizations in Western New York area down, the state reported high numbers because hospitals are understaffed and are not able to discharge patients in a timely manner.

Cuomo continued to express concern over a variant strain of the virus that is being seen in the United Kingdom and has caused 120 countries to require a negative test result before flying in from the country.

During a press briefing held via Zoom on Monday afternoon, the governor announced that he had come to an agreement with British Airways to require passengers on flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens to test negative for the variant strain before boarding. Later in the day, Cuomo announced that Delta Airways had also agreed to do similar testing.

“The strain is so serious that the UK has closed down again,” Cuomo said. “Why don’t we act intelligently for a change? Why don’t we mandate testing before people get on the flight, or halt the flights from the UK now? Many other countries have done this. This is not a case of first impression. You have many countries that have just restricted flights from the UK. Many European countries have done it.”

He added, “Why are we doing nothing? 120 countries require the UK travelers to receive a negative test before they get on the plane in the UK. 120 countries and the United States has done nothing.”

The governor also admonished lawmakers in Washington for excluding states and localities from the federal stimulus package agreed to by members of Congress on Sunday that would have helped the state address a budget gap that has threatened budgets for municipalities.

“Congress gave Democrats a ‘Sophie’s Choice’ — which life do you want to save more?” Cuomo said. “Do you want to help some people while others struggle and are in pain? Or help no one? It was not an American choice.”

During the press conference, Cuomo also announced that the New York State Department of Health has granted Santa Claus a waiver to travel to New York for Christmas. While DOH has granted the waiver, Santa will be required to wear a mask this year.

“They have granted the quarantine waiver, but Santa is required to wear a mask this year,” he said. “I think you will still be able to recognize him even though he’ll be wearing a mask because he does have a fairly distinct outfit that he wears, plus his body style is fairly distinct. So, I don’t think there will be any issue in identifying Santa this year. He’ll be able to do his job, but do it safely because he’ll be wearing a mask. So, thank you, Dr. Zucker — I think that was a creative outcome to that waiver request.”


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