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Rosas: All city departments impacted by COVID-19

OBSERVER File Photo Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas said COVID-19 has become an issue across all city departments.

The death of a recent Department of Public Works employee due to COVID-19 has sparked some concern for the city of Dunkirk.

Mayor Wilfred Rosas said the pandemic — with high confirmed COVID numbers across Western New York — is an issue across all departments in city government.

“I can’t single out one department that is not dealing with issues due to COVID, whether that’s because we have someone that tested positive or whether we had someone who was contacted through contact tracing that they have to isolate,” Rosas told the OBSERVER on Monday. “Right now, we have changed certain policies on things that we normally do differently just to try to keep our staff members safe. And these are things that I’ve checked with other mayors on such as the mayors of Olean and Jamestown; these are mayors that have tweaked policies in their departments to makes sure they are trying to do everything they can to keep people safe.”

Rosas said some practices have been changed at city hall in order to try and stave off future contact with the virus.

“We’re doing little things like normally other staff members come into the clerk’s office to use the copy machine or the printer or the postage machine. We’re trying to limit how many staff members are going in there,” Rosas said. “They are relatively minor issues, but to staff members they’re main issues because people do come in to other departments throughout the building.”

When asked whether he was considering shutting down city hall at the moment, Rosas said no.

“At this time, we’ve asked department heads to allow staff members where they can do it without disrupting operations allowing some of their staff to work from home and that seems to be working so far,” Rosas said. “I have considered closing city hall to the public, but I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. At this point I’m still considering it, but I’m not going to close it as of yet.”

The number of COVID cases continue to increase throughout Chautauqua County with 5,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to numbers released on Monday afternoon.

The numbers, which include the reported cases from Jan. 8 to 10, indicate that 376 individuals tested positive for the coronavirus. There are now 715 active cases in the county.

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