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New COVID-19 cases, monthlong surge continues

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chautauqua County is continuing its recent surge, with 235 people added to the list over the weekend. To date, there have been 6,253 total cases of the coronavirus in the county, though a large percentage have been documented recently.

Since the beginning of January, 2,156 county residents have contracted the virus, with 378 of those reported in the last week.

The county crossed the 1,000-case mark in late October, about six months into the pandemic. In early December, the county crossed the 2,000-case mark. Two weeks later, 3,000 confirmed cases were identified.

Of the new cases noted Monday by the county Health Department, 45 have come from the Dunkirk zip code, 27 in Fredonia, 49 in Jamestown, 12 in Brocton, 14 in Lakewood and 20 in Westfield.

The health department also recorded two new virus-related deaths, which raises the total to 77 during the pandemic. To date, four people between the ages of 40 and 49 have died due to COVID complications; three between 50 and 59; six between 60 and 69; 19 between 70 and 79; 26 between 80 and 89; and six over the age of 90.

Fatality rates jumped late last week after the county added 23 involving residents of local nursing homes. Health officials noted that they are not always notified right away when a resident of a nursing facility passes away with the virus.

According to state Health Department data from the weekend, 29 residents of county nursing homes have died with COVID, with 21 coming from Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Dunkirk; four from Absolut Care of Westfield; three at Heritage Green in Greenhurst; and one at Heritage Village in Gerry.

There are currently 423 active cases as well as 39 people with the virus in the hospital. That’s down from the 43 hospitalizations reported Friday.

Meanwhile, at Heritage Green nursing facility, the site of a recent COVID cluster, 29 staff and 51 residents were confirmed to have COVID. The most recent case was identified on Friday. At Heritage Village, 12 staff and 29 residents tested positive. The most recent case there was confirmed on Sunday, according to information Heritage posted on its website.

In his daily COVID update, Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted that the state’s rate of transmission dropped below 1. A rate of 1 or more means COVID-19 will spread quickly.

The governor also announced that elective surgeries can resume in Erie County following a sustained decline in Western New York’s positivity rate. The county’s positivity has steadily declined for nearly three weeks, going from 8.6% on Jan. 7 to 5.2%. Hospitalizations have declined from 427 on Dec. 31 to 323.

The county’s hospital capacity is at 48%.

“We predicted that increased social activity would lead to a spike in COVID cases, and that the spike would eventually dissipate, and the ongoing fulfilment of that prediction is good news,” Cuomo said. “The rate of transmission — one of the most important numbers — has now declined below one, meaning the virus is no longer spreading quickly. And when those numbers decrease, you can increase economic activity. That decline has extended to Erie County, and we now feel comfortable resuming elective surgeries there and will have more adjustments over the next couple of days. This is good news, but don’t get cocky with COVID–this beast has been ahead of us from the beginning and it will require New Yorkers to stay vigilant, wash their hands, wear masks and socially distance to get to the light at the end of the tunnel together.”

In Cattaraugus County, health officials on Saturday announced its 71st COVID-related death, a 65-year-old woman who developed respiratory failure.

“We extend our deepest condolences to her family and the entire Cattaraugus County community,” the county Health Department said in a statement.

There were 15 new confirmed virus cases reported Sunday in Cattaraugus County, marking 3,575 to date. There are currently 411 active cases along with 43 people with the virus in the hospital.

And in Warren County, there was one COVID death reported over the weekend and only about 10 new cases per day. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s statistics on Monday, there had been 81 COVID or COVID-related deaths in the county.

There had been 1,952 total cases, up 31 from Friday’s total. Nine of those new cases were reported on Monday.

Confirmed cases number 1,609 and there are another 343 listed as probable by the department.

There were three fewer cases at Warren General Hospital Monday than there were on Friday, with none of those COVID-positive patients using ventilators and none in intensive care.

Brian Ferry contributed to this report.

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