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COVID deaths spike in November

Uneasy barometer

In the month of November, Chautauqua County recorded at least 17 deaths due to COVID-19.

It’s even worse for bordering Cattaraugus and Warren counties.

The Chautauqua County Health Department announced Wednesday that there were nine new deaths from the week of Nov. 21-27. That brings the county’s total to 228 deaths since the pandemic began. At the end of October, Chautauqua County had reported 211 deaths.

The ages of the 17 people who have died in November are as follows: one person 39 or younger; two people in their 50s; three people in their 60s; three people in their 70s; four people in their 80s; and four people in their 90s. Chautauqua County has not yet reported any deaths from Nov. 28-30, so the 17 deaths could be increased for the month.

Cattaraugus County, which has about 50,000 fewer residents, has had many more COVID deaths in the past month. On Oct. 31, its health department announced it had 146 deaths countywide. On Nov. 30, the health department said that number had risen to 176, meaning 30 people had lost their lives due to COVID-19.

Of the 30 deaths, one person was in his 30s, two people were in their 40s, six people were in their 50s, seven people were in their 60s, seven people were in their 70s, and seven people were in their 80s.

Warren County, too, has been hit hard as well. Warren had 29 people die of COVID in the month of November.

Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel believes residents of all ages need to get the vaccine.

“I said it today and I’ve said it in several interviews: how much longer are people going to watch their friends die and think they don’t need to be vaccinated?” he said Wednesday. “What we’re finding — and our doctors are saying this, not anecdotally — doctors on our team that are in the emergency room say we are intubating more 20 to 40 year-olds than we were intubating 60 to 80 year-olds. How long are people going to watch this happen? You can argue what you want about the vaccines — I don’t care anymore — but when we have 40 year-olds or less dying because they’re unvaccinated, you could say that was their choice and you’re right — but getting a shot in your arm could’ve changed that. That’s important.”

In Chautauqua County, there have been 15,597 confirmed cases of the virus to date, along with 14,721 recoveries. As of Saturday, there were 648 active cases of the virus, 995 people in quarantine and a seven-day positivity rate of 11.2%.

The 707 new cases recorded last week were by far the most since Aug. 21 when the county began reporting COVID statistics on a weekly basis. Furthermore, new cumulative cases have increased in each of the past six weeks, when 234 were reported the week ending Oct. 16.

In an interview earlier this week, Christine Schuyler, the county’s public health director, believes the hospitalization rate will continue to increase due to the Thanksgiving holiday and the fact that more people are gathering indoors due to the weather.

To date there have been 15,597 cases of the virus in the county and 14,721 recoveries.

There are currently 648 active cases of the virus, 995 people in quarantine and a seven-day positivity rate of 11.2%.

Staff reporter Katrina Fuller contributed to this article.

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